Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scent-sational: January 2008

As lovers of fashion, beauty, and the fabulous life, we want to enrich your life any way possible - clothes, cosmetics, home furnishings, and more! Each month, we will review fragrances in our Scent-sational feature. We will try as we can to include a male and female choice, as well as our personal opinions on the fragrances in question. Our first scent-sation features two fragrances that, while created with a particular consumer in mind, can be almost unisex. Fragrances that your boyfriend or girlfriend can use when in a bind and not feel like they just spent the entire night with you.

Tom Ford Black Orchid ($90-135): On a recent trip to Cusp, I happened to walk by the fragrances and, being an avid lover of Tom Fords creations, decided to give this one a whiff. Was I surprised or what?! I loved it -- spicy but not too spicy for a woman, floral but not too floral for a man. Yes, it's made for a woman, but I don't think that'll stop me from purchasing it when I am in need of a new fragrance. It is described as follows: Sensuous top notes of Black Truffle and Ylang mingled with fresh Bergamot and delectable Black Currant. Dramatic middle notes of dark, tempting Florals and rich Fruit Accords. The heart is deepened with the intoxicating Lotus Wood. Decadent base notes of Patchouli, Incense and Vetiver. Vanilla Tears add a fluid creaminess to warm Balsam and smooth Sandalwood. Although I rarely ever take fragrance descriptions to heart (it can be difficult to smell with your eyes), I can honestly smell many of these elements within this scent. It's a great buy for yourself, a woman who wants something new and sure to be a classic, or for a confident man who simply wants to smell amazing.

Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Male ($54-74): Let me just start off by saying how much I love Jean Paul Gaultier fragrances. It isn't just the sensual, body-shaped bottles that captivate me, but how his scents are not by any means typical. Every cologne-wearing man has a bottle of Stetson or some other macho-man spicy fragrance. Jean Paul Gaultier manages to include citrus, fruity, and floral elements into his fragrances, all while not giving up that manly undertone. Imagine my excitement upon walking into Sephora and seeing a new bottle in that oh-so-Gaultier male silhouette. I took one whiff of that little tester sheet, and thought my nose had died and gone to heaven. Needless to say (Fleur should have given it away), Fleur du Male is quite floral, but it's definitely not too floral for a man. It is, in my opinion, the perfect summer fragrance. It is described as follows: Freshness. Poetry. Smiles. 100 percent masculine style. The newest scent from Jean Paul Gaultier blends orange blossom and coumarin for an innocent and sensual scent that is full of contrasts. It's a fragrance that is fresh and smiling; poetic and endearing; sensual and gourmand - 100 percent Gaultier. Many designers and fashionista's describe orange blossom being the most floral scent a man can wear without forsaking his masculinity. I suppose this is true, but don't be fooled, ladies. This one could easily be in your beauty cabinet as well.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Celeb-rate: 2008 SAG Award Red Carpet

Thanks to the god-awful writers strike that has put all of our favorite shows on hold (Desperate Housewives, anyone?), we were denied our right to judge red carpet dresses at the Golden Globe Awards this past January 13th. And while we don't usually hear as much press for the Screen Actors Guild awards, I suppose the lack of award shows this year made the SAG's a little more significant this year. So the stars donned their best and hit the red carpet, ready to be peeled apart by the fashion police (on E! tonight at 8/9c), and by style mavens such as yourself. Here are some of my favorite (and least favorite) looks of the night!

Marion Cotillard was by far my favorite look of the night, and it has nothing to do with her amazing performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. This Nina Ricci dress fit her impeccably, and other stars can only hope to look this elegant to future events and award shows!

Okay. To be quite frank, I don't understand the hype over this Nina Ricci dress. Everyone seemed to be in love with it, but I just can't seem to bring myself to feel the same way. It gives the impression of crushed velvet, and the folds on/below the bust just don't sit well with me. On top of all that, the metallic silver color just screams too loud. Everyone else, however, seems to disagree with me! I just don't get it.

Needless to say, Sandra Oh was my least favorite look of the night. I don't know who designed it, and while I'm sure it may have looked... somewhat okay on the runway model, it tragically did not stay on the runway. I am always a little perplexed by Sandra's choices, and this is no exception.

Terri Hatcher in Badgley Mischka. I don't know how I feel about this dress. Several people have expressed their dislike over this dress and it's floral print, but I think it suits Terri quite well. It looks fun and youthful without making her look like she's trying to live in the past.

I don't quite know what Viggo Mortenson was trying to achieve when he put on this ensemble. It looks so awkward among the hundreds of immaculately dressed stars at the event. Men are best dressed when they stick to traditional suits and tuxedo's. A little color never hurt anyone, but the long blazer with the pinstripes combined with a blue shirt, red vest, metallic red tie, and red scarf, and black shoes just made him look like a mess.

America Ferrera looked gorgeous in this dress. She looks elegant, and chic, and positively stunning. This is definitely one of my favorites of the night. As horrible as she looks on Ugly Betty, America always looks beyond amazing at all these award shows, and I think many people could take a tip from her closet.

Is she or isn't she?! That's the question on everyone's minds. And Angelina's dress last night did not serve to disprove the rumors that she is pregnant. I think the dress looks alright, but of course, if she is not pregnant, she could have done much better. Brad, on the other hand, I thought looked quite bad. I am not a fan of their coordinated outfits -- the black and brown combo. And I hate the fact that his hair and his goatee don't match! Usually he does so well, and this disappointed me. Angelina, however, gets a yes from me!

I thought Eva Longoria looked amazing in this dress last night. It's a little too wedding-gown-like for me, but I think it was pulled off very well, and she looks as beautiful and elegant as she always does.

I think this was a great dress for Amanda Bynes. I do, however, have one issue. Her posture!! In every picture I saw of her, her head looked like it was being pushed foward. If she had stood a little more presentably, I think she would have been towards the top of my list!

These housewives really know how to kick the competitions ass. Marcia Cross looks amazing in this dress, and that teal color is absolutely divine on her. After Marion Cotillard, Marcia may as well be one of my front runners for best dressed of the night!

* The ladies featured in the photograph at the top of this post, and my opinions on their dresses (had they not been addressed already):
Cate Blanchett - I can't argue with a pregnant woman's choice in clothing, so I will let her go for this one.
Debra Messing - Not her best choice. The color washed her out a little bit, and I don't think it fit her perfectly.
Marcia Cross, Ellen Pompeo, Angelina Jolie - See above
Jamie Lynn Sigler - I don't like this combination of colors, or the dress itself.
Marion Cotillard - Best dress of the night!

Photo Credits: 1 2 3

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rave: The Perfect Closet

Okay, let me just admit it up front - I actually enjoy organizing my closet. No, I'm not one of those people who must have everything in a certain way (Anthony spaces his hangers equidistant from each other-talk about OCD!) - I'm quite the opposite actually. But I do, however, take special interest when it comes to my wardrobe. To be honest, I get lazy and my closet can go weeks at a time without seeing me hang a single item, but this pushes me to have an ultimate cleaning day where I completely re-organize all of it.

First off, I think that a clean closet is important for everyone. It really is the penultimate accessory for any fashionista! Not only does it show your care and value for the clothes you own, but it also makes it a lot easier to find clothes when in a rush. No more turning over your entire bedroom trying to find that purple blouse wrinkled beneath a pair of jeans. While it would be fabulous to have one, you don't need to have a huge walk-in closet to achieve the perfect closet. I've found that color-coding my closet helps me put together outfits, which is definitely an added bonus, and of course, it helps me work with my limited closet space. And i mean, who doesn't like throwing open their closet doors to find a colorful masterpiece where the medium is clothing? Your own personal fashion show, where everything (hopefully) fits, n'est pas?

My Tips to Obtaining the Perfect Closet:
1. Only keep things that you need/will wear. I know this is especially hard, considering most people hate throwing stuff away. But the less junk you have in your closet, the easier it will be to find things, and the more space you'll have for things you will actually wear (as well as more space for the things you haven't yet purchased!).

2. Figure out the best way to organize and utilize your closet space. If you are a huge dress fanatic, make sure you have the room to hang long dresses; if you love shoes, make sure to include plenty of space (including shelving if necessary); if you love sweaters, you may want to invest in a closet organizing system so you can fold your sweaters and still have room for those items that need to be hung. Just like every other aspect of fashion, the Perfect Closet depends mainly on the likes and dislikes - the fit -- of the person who owns it, and only you can decide the optimal way to use your space.

3. Organize your clothes in your closet in a way that will enable you to reach and find your clothes in an efficient major. For me, this is best achieved by color coding my closet. On these days, I follow a ROY G BIV color scheme from left to right. Neutrals, blacks, greys, browns, and whites go before the red section. Within each block of color, I organize the clothing by weight -- thickest item to thinnest. If two items of clothing match in warmth, I put the darker of the two to the left. Jeans and other pants share a shelf under all of the tops, and are folded and tucked away. All the delicates and casual wear are stored in my dresser. And as for shoes -- they're everywhere - my bedroom, the laundry room, my car, and so forth. Any ideas on how to organize these while minimizing space would be highly appreciated.

This isn't the only way to organize your closet. You can go with color temperatures (cool colors vs. warm colors), or clothing type (shirts, pants, t-shirts, jeans, etc.), designer, dressy vs. casual -- the options are limitless.

4) Maintain your newly modified closet. This is the hardest part for me! But if you can keep your closet clean and tidy, your life (as well as your prying mom's eyes) will be a lot happier!

Of course, I'm still waiting for the day when I can have a two-story walk-in with a chandelier, chaise, and huge three way mirror, but for now, my closet is organized in a manner that allows me to enjoy all of my clothes whilst providing a clean, bright environment for all of my new purchases.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rant: The Bluetooth Blues

Style and fashion lovers all around the world, there is a serious plague making it's way around the world right now. Hundreds - even thousands - have already caught this gross and unseemly disease, and it is likely to continue wreaking havoc throughout our city streets. Do whatever you can to protect yourself before it's too late. I've seen many a friend infected, and it breaks my heart that they didn't know better.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I think a short story is called for. The time: about a year or two ago. The place: Safeway. I was in line at the Pharmacy, picking up what I'm sure was my inhaler, when the lady behind me started speaking randomly. I was so confused. Why did this complete stranger feel inclined to make conversation with me? Call me cold-hearted, but I wasn't there to make small talk. My one-track mind said 'pick up the medicine and jet.' I turned around to give her a confused look, and to my surprise, she wasn't even looking at me. Oddly enough, however, she continued talking. It was only then that I noticed this plastic tumor-like protrusion at her ear, with a tiny flashing blue light.

Bluetooth-Date! I know one guy who's not getting any.

Bluetooth headsets mark the beginning of the end of mankind. Don't get me wrong, I think they're quite useful. I even have one! I have used it when driving, and I used to use it to talk to my best friend while I unpacked my luggage whenever I went back to my dorm after a weekend at home. But mark my words, I will NEVER be seen in public wearing it.

If you are one of those people who wear their bluetooth headsets in public, please take this into consideration. Do you not realize how crazy you seem standing in the middle of a grocery store or the mall talking to yourself? Do you realize how stupid you look when you aren't talking to someone on that thing, yet keep it attached to your ear? Do you not realize that wearing one in public does not make you look sophisticated or smarter? Every time I see someone wearing these ridiculous things, I fall to my knees in prayer, hoping that God will take away this gross disfigurement.

Yes, it's Dolce & Gabbana. But there is a time and place. Out in public isn't one of them.

Are we really at that place in history where we are too lazy to hold a phone up to our ears for a few minutes? I can understand if cellphones looked like bricks, circa Zach Morris on Saved By the Bell. But phones are getting smaller and smaller with each passing day. If you don't want to hold it up to your ear with your hand, just keep it there with your head and use your hands as you see fit. No wonder the United States is the most obese country in the world! We do everything we can to use absolutely no energy at all. If you wear your bluetooth like one of these idiots I've talked about above, you deserve to be fat and gross looking.

And if this is what 'the future' looks like, I opt to stay in the past, where I won't look like a blithering fool.

Thank you & Goodnight.

Photo Credits 1 2 3

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rave: Louis Vuitton Spring 2008

Sometime last week, while looking through the Spring 08 collections presented last September, I realized that I had overlooked the collection presented by fashion powerhouse, Louis Vuitton. In my opinion, it was a great show. Filled with color, odd selections of fabrics, and downright confusing combinations, I suppose this show was quite similar to Marc Jacob's own 'backwards' collection -- done in a much more sophisticated fashion. put it as being "crazed, random, playful, yet grounded," and I couldn't agree more. It really was like young women playing dress up and getting lost in their mother's makeup-kit.

But alas! The clothes weren't what attracted me to the collection. Yes, they were fabulous as Louis Vuitton clothes always tend to be, but it was the bags that stole the show. Marc Jacobs collaborated with controversial artist Richard Prince to design the spring 08 line of Louis Vuitton bags. They were colorful, spray painted and distressed, and several of the bags even incorporated text (what Prince's artwork is often noted for). From what I've read on message boards and The Purse Forum, these bags haven't yet been welcome with open arms. Yet, I must admit, that when I saw the bags for the first time, my mind was reeling! I could not believe how modern they looked without sacrificing the class and quality that Vuitton is known for. I was hooked right away, and hope that this isn't the last we see of a Prince & Louis Vuitton collaboration.

My take on the bags? To be quite honest, I had nearly lost all hope for Louis Vuitton. Yes, LV bags are fabulous and the epitome of quality clothing, but it seems that today, everyone and their mother has a Louis Vuitton bag (and in most cases, fake ones -- but we'll save that topic for later). I had very little hope that the label could regain it's once revered status, and I feel that the Richard Prince collection, while definitely "out there," has done just that. It has reaffirmed why Louis Vuitton is looked upon with such respect in the world of fashion.

But words aren't enough. Check them out for yourself.

Photo Credits: 1 2 3 4

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rave: Figure-Flattering Finery

As I walked through the mall this past weekend, signs of "SALE" greeted me at every store window. Being the polite shopper that I am, I obliged these signs and visited many stores whose displays boasted major discounts and well-dressed mannequins. Walking through the rows and rows of clothes, I realized a common mistake that many people make - dressing for other people.

It has always been a belief of mine that women do not dress for themselves - they dress for other women. In hoping to outshine their fellow comrades, they put together far more unique outfits. This however leads to one problem - the woman who does not know what flatters their own body shape.

I often see two problems as I walk through aisles of chemises, jackets, miscellaneous tops, and customers looking for something pretty to take home:

1) The most common problem is buying something at a great price that does not flatter your body shape. Often times, we get so caught up in how great of a deal we've found that we do not realize that the "object of our desires" does not highlight our most favorable areas and downplay our flaws. As I held up a camisole from a clearance bin at Express just this past Saturday, I was shocked at the low price but painfully put it down as I realized that the cut was not right for me. Do not, I repeat, do NOT buy inexpensive items based on price alone; fit is just as, if not more important, than price! Do not be fooled!

2) The second mistake is buying something simply for the label. Too many people have been caught in the trap of brand-buying. For example, a friend recently gushed over a designer dress she had just bought. Of course I was very impressed with her purchase - until she put it on. By being so caught up in who made the dress, she had forgotten who would wear the dress. Needless to say, the dress clung to her where it shouldn't have and billowed away where it should have flattered. I quickly persuaded her to return the dress and today, she happily found a much more figure-friendly dress at an affordable price.

So when do you know if something is worth buying? As you've probably already guessed, the flattery-level of the dress is foremost amongst quality and occasion and whatnot. We've found a video clip from the Today Show featuring designer Isaac Mizrahi discussing the best ways to accentuate your body. Also, a guide from TravelSmith can help you figure out what clothing choices to stray towards or away from as you determine the best way to balance your body shape. For example, if you are concerned with a less than perfect stomach, a babydoll top may help you skim over these imperfections. If you are worried about wide hips, an A-line skirt might visually minimize your problem area. However, keep in mind that these suggestions are only guidelines and only you can determine what looks best on you while keeping you comfortable in your skin.

Coco Chanel once said, “The best color in the whole world, is the one that looks good, on you!” At the Linen Lounge, we could not agree more. The best look in the world is the one that shows off your best assets and increases your confidence level infinitely. As you learn how to find better clothes for yourself, it will become easier for you to spot the looks most geared towards your body shape. Do not buy something because it looked good on a co-worker or friend and on the other hand, do not disregard something simply because it is no longer a trend. I will perhaps always wear skinny jeans, even when they go out of style, because they elongate my legs and that is something that no amount of trend-bashing can take away.

Throughout this post are pictures from The Sartorialist showcasing looks that people just like you have put together to flatter their figure, exude their personal style, and highlight their inner confidence.

So good luck, reader! The world of malls, markets, and boutiques awaits your picky eye!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Linen Lounge Spotlight: Marc Jacobs

A Modern Visionary in a Traditional World

While still in elementary school, a young man named Marc Jacobs decided he wanted to become a designer. With the help of his sister and grandmother, he gained his first insights into fashion and clothing construction. As he grew in age, so did his love for fashion, and in his mid-teens, he worked in boutiques and even met Perry Ellis. He graduated from the High School for Art and Design in New York, and then eventually studied at Parsons School of Art and Design, where he won the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble Award. Jacobs soon became Vice President of Womenswear at Perry Ellis, but his tenure there was short. His new, modern approach was not favored by the Perry Ellis group, and he was subsequently laid off. Interestingly enough, he won the CDFA Womenswear Designer of the Year award that same year. In 1994, he launched his first collection under his own name, and created a stir when supermodels Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista (who were known for their $10,000 per show price tag) walked for Marc Jacobs absolutely free, in support of this visionary.

From New Designer to Legend in the Making

In 1997, Marc Jacobs was named creative director at Louis Vuitton, and remains so to this day. In 2001, Jacobs launched his diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, which quickly gained popularity among young people and fashion connoisseurs alike. Vogue also reports that Marc by Marc Jacobs is one of the first diffusion lines that has threatened to overshadow the mainline collection. Jacobs has made Louis Vuitton a modern, rejuvenated brand, restored to it's former glory, all while keeping his own two lines at the head of the fashion world. Lovers of fashion all around the world from Anna Wintour to Winona Ryder (who was caught stealing his clothes from a Saks Fifth Avenue) flock to the boutiques to get Jacobs work.

At the same time, Marc Jacobs does not fit the profile of many past designers. In the mid 2000s, he underwent a major image overhaul, and he does not shy away from the limelight. He is notorious for starting his fashion shows late, and while this may be an issue for several designers, no one will complain, because his designs make up for it. He has been quoted saying that he wants to star in his own reality show, and in early 2007, he was admitted to rehab for treatment of drug and alcohol abuse.

Marc Jacobs Spring 2008

His latest collection (Spring 2008) sparked a bit of confusion and intrigue, as he showed an entire 'backwards' collection. Starting two (some report three) hours after it's scheduled starting time, Jacobs came out onto the runway first and took his bow, then his models all came out in finale formation, and then finally came out individually. In addition to the backwards program of the fashion show, the clothing was quite skewed as well (the backward heel, for example). Don't take our word for it, see for yourself.

Marc by Marc Jacobs RTW Spring 2008

"I'd like to believe that the women who wear my clothes are not dressing for other people, that they're wearing what they like and what suits them. It's not a status thing. "
- Marc Jacobs

Sources & Photo Credits: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7