Hide & Seek

Comments and inspiration pulled from the fashion industry. My blog reviews fashion trends, magazines, designers, stores, runway shows and more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Embrace the Spending Freeze

It's cold out there. Winter is officially in full force, the holidays have passed and without pointing out the obvious, we're still trecking through some pretty uncomfortable economic times. Instead of hibernating, I think its important to embrace ideas on how to spend your money smartly and still manage to have fun out there shopping. Lets face it, flipping through magazines in your jammies is fun, but I want to get out there and translate what I lust after and make it a reality. Its time you come face to face with this year's evolving trend: the thrift store.

Now, when I say thrift store...I mean real thrift store. Not to be confused with vintage thrift stores. There was a time when vintage thrift stores popped up all over cities and larger suburban areas to everyone's glee and excitement. But now, more and more shops tend to let us down with their just plain silly pricing. People are getting smart. When it comes to everyday needs versus wants, the authentic thrift stores are where its at.

Next time you're in the mall and shopping for a great bargain, but you can't quite bring yourself to compromise price for quality, head to your local Salvation Army and start your search for prized treasure. Some of you might be squirming at the thought of pre-worn clothing but rest assured that places like Salvation Army, Beacon's Closet and Arizona Trading Company only sell clothes that have been "gently" worn. Once you get over this irrational fear, you'll discover a mecca of rows and rows of quality clothing. In my experience, I have found unique one-of-a-kind pieces as well as classic clothing from retailers such as Banana Republic and J.Crew.

What's great about thrift stores goes beyond the extremely low price tag, its all about the experience. Peeking through the endless sea of clothing and accessories opens up a level of creativity and imagination that department stores and retailers cut out from your shopping experience. You now have the opportunity to select pieces and create combinations that are not clearly laid out and pre-determined for you. And, if you are a true shopper at heart, this is what you're really after in the first place: creativity.

I love the feeling I get when I leave a thrift store. I spend hours getting lost in the colors, patterns and trends opportunities in front of me and always come away with pieces that I discovered and hand selected for me and me only. I know that I won't see the same thing walking down the street. What's even better is that I get to challenge myself to try new styles that I normally wouldn't wear, often because I don't want to invest money in priceier pieces I find at larger retailers.

So go out and try it on for size. Thrift stores are a fun place to be, whether its by yourself or with a few friends. And, when you walk out the door with 6 items and only had to spend $25, you'll be more then happy you ventured off the couch and into the cold.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Genius! Beauty products that beg for your attention

Completely aware that this is a fashion blog, I have recently come across two beauty products that I absolutely need to share with everyone. After all, beauty and fashion go hand in hand.

The perfect cleanser

I'm a no fuss no muss kind of a girl when it comes to keeping my face fresh and clean. I also have sensitive skin so I have been around the block a time or two when it comes to testing out different face washes. I am usually pretty loyal to the Olay brand, but recently I found a bottle that screamed out my name and it had to be mine: Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser. It looked simple, clean, refreshing. And, the best part lies in the subtext. It is a make-up remover and cleanser in one for refreshingly clean skin. Genius! So far it has been a big success every morning and night with my skin so it's a keeper. If you're like me and don't want a five step process when you're trying to go to bed or get ready in the morning, head out to your local drug store. The second best part, its only $6. Perfection.

Customize your make-up
Bobbi Brown has introduced what can only be noted as the future of what make-up is going to be all about. Personalize, customize, simplify, and a focus on a woman's need for individual beauty. Every shadow, bronzer and blush that they make will now be available for sale individually, and it will fit into the palette. The fun part is you get to pick and choose your colors and how you want to create your own compact. You can combine eye shadow and blush for a convenient on-the-go make-up kit. Again, a woman at my own heart is trying to create something that will organize and simplify your routine. Even better, it allows you to think about what you want, your favorites and create something that is 100% you instead of a cookie cutter eye shadow palette where you end up liking two of the four. Have fun picking your base color and highlighter. Bobbi Brown offers great tips on how to create the perfect palette on her website at bobbibrown.com.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Comments on Color Palette

Every season there is one or two colors that set the tone for our wardrobe. In the past bold plumb or cobalt blue have popped up, but this spring we are seeing a lot of bright bright hues of yellow and turquoise.

Last weekend I went on a "viewing only" shopping adventure, as I tend to do these days in my attempts to stay on budget. And, as I was walking around and jumping from store to store I was overwhelmed with the focus that was given to these two colors only. Many stores had covered their mannequins head to toe in one color. While to me, this would clearly be a fashion oops, I think it sends a clear message to the consumer: Hey, here are the colors you should be watching for this spring.

Now, it is unfortunate that I happen to think the aqua side of turquoise is the worst color in the world. I'm bound to get negative feedback on that comment, but it is a color I feel only has a home when worn in a tropical location or as a great piece of jewelry. It doesn't help my argument either that the color is sprinkled throughout every store I walk into, or that I attended three weddings in the past year where turquoise was the feature color. Clearly its a popular choice among others. Am I alone in this argument?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I am slightly obsessed with the color yellow. Unfortunately, it is not the most complimentary color to my pale skin tone at the moment, but perhaps with some help from the sun (or my Jergens color tinted lotion) this will soon change. Yellow is a great spring color. It is fun, cheery and can make a great addition to give your outfit a little pop.

No matter what your color preference is, my only advice when using these bright spring colors is to use in moderation. There is bound to be a focus on layering this season as well, in addition to a focus on accessories. So have fun out there with the bold bright colors, its the perfect way to ring in the new season.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Best in Show

Yesterday marked the last day of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, which was a week full of inspirational collections that appeal to the traveler, the romantic and the playful giddyness in all of us. One show in particular that I felt stood out above the rest and told a story that every woman wants to be apart of was the Diane von Furstenberg show.

The show presented pieces that were inspired from the woman who travels alone, looking for adventure and the excitement of knowing that anything can happen. Travelling from Berlin to Shanghai and back to New York, each look that came down the runway was representative of new trends to come.

Coming from a season that was so focused on the dress, the DVF show is now giving women the opportunity and encouragement to accessorize again. Each look placed emphasis on the ease and excitement of layering. She presented a strong focus on pairing full skirts and her classic patterned dresses with longer sweaters and jackets. The key item that brilliantly brought together each outfit is the return of the skinny belt. While this accessory may frighten some that are cautious about bringing attention to their waistline, it is a fun piece that is the solution to any complications of layering and truly allows for a romantic and polished head to toe look.

Overall, the show presented looks comprised of trends from the 40’s, abstract prints, an emphasis on beautiful layering, and the feeling that each woman walking down the runway was well traveled expressing cultural influences from all over the world. Diane von Furstenberg is a designer who I love, in the fact that she brings runway looks to the customer and makes them accessible and wearable for an everyday, effortless look. In my opinion, her show stood out above the rest in the sense that instead of taking a complete departure from last season’s dress obsession, she is adding to it and making it better in a variety of ways. She is giving her customers more option and opportunity to accessorize with belts, hats and gloves, to give your key wardrobe pieces a taste of your individual sense of style.

The show was so great, I couldn’t resist posting a recap of the show. Sorry if its a little long, but its well worth the 7 minutes. "

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Project Runway 501

It's no surprise that I am an avid viewer of Project Runway. Even though it is in it's third season and the formatting and commentary hasn't changed one bit, I still can't turn my eyes away from watching this glorious show.

Last night the contestants were asked to make a new garment purely out of Levi's jeans. While I'm a big believer that denim should only be worn as a pair of pants, these designers made it their own and created some interesting concepts. At the end of the show, I was left wondering what I would create if given the challenge. Come to find out this morning, as I was checking up on some of my favorite blogs, you too can participate in the denim design challenge at the Levis Web site!

All you need to do is register online and upload your design before February 6th. They even go to the lengths of providing a list of do's and dont's insider design tips to help you out along the way. If chosen the winner, you will receive a $501 Levi's gift certificate and most importantly Levi's will sell your design on levis.com. Second and third prize winners also get gift certificates of $501 and $250.

For those of us who are inspired and have great ideas, but aren't exactly "skilled" in the world of fashion design, it is still fun to enter the site and check out what is going on. Once you register, you are free to view all the submitted designs and comment on them. Still not intruiged? As a judge, you too can win Levi's gift certificates. Not too shabby.

If you love Project Runway and have ever put on a quality pair of jeans, I highly suggest visiting the site. If anything, you'll be impressed with the creativity that exudes from the site.

Winter Warm-Up Session

Down in the dumps about my last entry that featured the trendiest solution to bearing the cold winter months? Me too. I felt bad about bashing such a key item for winter, I figure we better move on and look ahead to some sweet spring previews. Hello bold patterns! It appears as though the fun and flirty warm weather dresses from last year are only getting better with age.

For now, enjoy the shopping previews that are peeping their way into the stores slowly but surely, and we'll revisit this when we actually have warm weathr to pair with our shopping needs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eskimo Kisses

It took longer than expected, but now that winter weather has made up its mind and is in full force, let's chat about a growing trend that has also finally arrived. Over the past two or three years, maybe longer, the long, puffy parka jacket has slowly been making its way into department stores and closets of colder climates alike. But, it is this winter season where I feel they are officially taking over the world. That's right, taking over the world. Granted, I live in New York and the sheer volume of people I see walking around is significantly larger, but literally every other person I pass on the street is wearing one. Does that define it as a trend? One would argue most certainly it does.

If that is true, that would make every parka wearing trendster out there just as cool as the Eskimos. Did you know the parka, originally created by Eskimos living in the Arctic, were made out of caribu and used to protect from extreme wind chill and wet conditions while hunting? I find this fascinating. Now, they are made mainly of down, synthetic fiber and sometimes even a cute wool lined hood for an extra added effect of the loveable Eskimo culture.

When shopping for a parka to keep you warm while running around town and pushing through the frigid cold winter months, I think the two most important qualities to consider are cost and fit.

The cost - In today's fashion culture, I feel that there is such a push to own a top designer named parka. But, in my opinion (and don't gasp when I say this), a Marc Jacobs parka($500+) will keep you warm just as well as a North Face($275), or even better one from Target($25).

The fit - There is no getting around trying to make this look figure flattering. It is all about the comfort and warmth. I have seen women try to take a leather belt and cinch the waist to add shape - ladies, this is a coat made from down feathers and has seaming to emphasize the "puff". We are not looking to show off anything with this jacket. With that said, some popular looks and shapes that I have come across and really like are:

This cropped puffer jacket from Target is the cheapest in cost ($25), but certainly not in value. It is fun, playful and doubles as a puffer vest by unzipping the sleeves.

If it's quality and comfort you are going for, the North Face Metropolis jacket ($275) is by far my favorite. It elongates the body, is light weight and clearly keeps you warm. My mom and two sisters own the same jacket and swear by it when the harsh Chicago winters are in full force.

While I do poke fun at the loveable and somewhat ridiculous connection between today's suburban/urban friendly parka and the Eskimos, I guarantee once you test one out, you will want to wear it every day and cuddle up with it at night. Its warm, its loveable, and it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg if you catch one when the price is just right.