Wednesday, September 24, 2014

{GETAWAY GIRL} 10 ESSENTIALS FOR 48 HOURS AT NIAGARA FALLS...

Niagara Weekend

This weekend I will be fulfilling a dream I've had since moving to New York: I'm going to Niagara Falls. On Friday afternoon, Tully, Amanda, Lexi and I will be making the long drive upstate, through Poughkeepsie, past the Finger Lakes and across the Canadian border to Ontario. I'm actually really looking forward to the drive because while Manhattan is still winding down from summer, the northern reaches of the state will already be crisping and starting to put on their autumnal best.

We're staying in a suite with a fireplace and a view of the Horseshoe Falls (gotta love Jetsetter), and will be cruising north in style thanks to Drive The District. With a trunk full of snacks and plenty of Spotify playlists cued up, the seven hour drive should fly by, right? 

My goal at Niagara is to mix the classic tourist activities with a few more laid-back ideas—such as a winery visit in the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. With a guarantee of getting completely soaked on the Maid of the Mist as well as at the Cave of the Winds and temperatures in the mid-70s, I'm planning an ultra-casual, not-even-a-little-bit-special packing list. Sneakers, denim, t-shirts and a couple warmer layers should do it. Oh, and a baseball hat for post-drenching hair. (I have a feeling we won't be looking quite as glamorous as Marilyn Monroe during the filming of Niagara (above) in 1953, try as we might.  

I've done a fair amount of online research, but if any of you have been to Niagara and have some suggestions for activities, hikes, drives, eats, etc—please leave a comment below!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MID-WEEK MUSIC MOMENT: MADE IN HEIGHTS


This is a song I just heard this week, via one of my favorite music blogs, Pigeons & Planes. I follow their feed on Facebook (nerd alert!), which keeps me up to date on a lot of indie and electro new releases. Anyway, this is a song from Made in Heights, who's "Murakami" I discovered during BCBGMAXAZRIA's show at NYFW back in February. I'm sort of thrilled to have something new from them, and this song, "Ghosts," does not disappoint. Take a listen below and let me know what you think!

The beat is addictive, and the song builds so well. It feels like 90's R&B mixed with current dance and a pleasing pop hook. I'll take it. The singer's breathy voice gives the whole thing a sort of other-worldly vibe, which makes the song title pretty apt. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

{STYLING NOTES} THE BLACK BAG EDIT...


{ Coco Chanel }

Every year around this time, I get the handbag itch. September is hard enough, what with fashion week and all the new fall merchandise tempting me at every turn—but handbags tend to make me especially weak right about now. Autumn always feels like the right time to make that investment purchase, whatever "investment" means to me at the time. As I'm deep in my black/white/navy only phase right now, I've got black handbags on the brain.

The Cut put together a glorious round-up of black bags under $400 recently, which must have spurred my inspiration for this post. I chose to dream both small and big, so do what you will with that—my picks include everything from River Island to Givenchy. The truth is, there are so many black bags on the market (for obvious reasons) that weeding through what's worthwhile and what is not is rather exhausting. I did my best to think like a reasonable person with excellent taste.

Bear in mind that the selection here is only my vision of shopping on a budget or for the trophy case, etc. You've got to examine your finances for yourself to determine what's feasible. Then again, what fun is it to be reasonable when you're talking about bags?

Browse the rotator below (scroll right for more bags and higher prices) or all of my nifty descriptions and selling points, farther below.

Budget (Under $100)
  • This faux leather bag from Steve Madden has the look of a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, without the daunting price tag. At $88, you know what you're signing up for here—this is a faux leather bag that will look rad this season, but may not last you many years.
  • This moc croc top-handle bag from River Island gives you a lot of look for $80, in the most versatile size and shape. It resembles a lot of the covetable designer bags you'll find right now, but it's not close enough to any of them to look too much like a knock-off. 
  • While not technically a handbag, I think this simple, unfussy Baggu weekend bag for $72 is such a steal. It's incredibly roomy, made from durable heavy canvas and just the thing for road trips, train rides and weekend getaways alike. (It also comes in nautical stripes if you're feeling jaunty.)
Semi-Budget (Under $300)
  • I have a hard time resisting anything Madewell does in the fall, but I'm especially smitten with this black genuine leather bucket bag ($198). The dual straps mean you can sling it over your shoulder or carry it in hand—as you do. The simple design ensures you'll want to carry it even after the buck bag craze has ended. (See also: the Transport tote.)
  • Depending on your eye with handbags, you may dig this 90s-inspired Sam Edleman bag ($108) or not. If you're looking for something that feels a bit more edgy, you might like Rebecca Minkoff's 'Julian' bag ($298).
  • I have a little Coach crossbody that is similar to this Tory Burch foldover ($225), and I can't tell you how much use I get out of it. It's small, versatile and works as well for bar nights as it does for Sunday brunch.
  • If you simply need a big, unfussy bag that you can carry to the office without embarrassment, the Kate Spade 'Cedar Street' tote is a great option. I like this because it's a brand with sophisticated street cred, but not so much branding that you're a walking advertisement.
Minor Investment (Under $600)
  • I have always loved Loeffler Randall's 'Rider' bag, and this black-on-black "murdered out" version is so sleek. 
  • Time's Arrow is one of my favorite up-and-coming accessory brands, and this little crossbody with gold hardware ($550) is so cool and special—definitely a purchase you'll treasure.
  • Mansur Gavriel bags are selling out everywhere these days, which is both unsurprising (they're very good-looking) and a little baffling (they're so simple). If you can swing it, the mini bucket bag is total envy bait, and slightly more affordable than the larger version, at $460.
Major Investment (Under $1000)
  • In this price range, you should be thinking about your label choice as much as quality. When you invest, you want your choice of designer to reflect not just your salary, but your taste and your style identity. For the downtown cool girls, the Rag & Bone 'Bradbury' tote is a nice sweet spot. The brand has major street cred, and the design is timeless with an edge.
  • Sophie Hulme is one of the hottest handbag lines at the moment, and her distinctive hardware ensures everyone will know exactly what bag you're carrying. Aside from that, this tote is as functional as it is luxe. Yes, please.
  • When it comes to fancy, tiny and expensive, if it isn't jewelry, it might as well be Gucci. The retro-inspired 'Disco' bag is a patent leather treat, and one you'll pass down to your daughter and granddaughter for sure. 
For the Trophy Case ("Whatever, I'm flush with cash!")
  • If you're going to really do it, do it right. The Givenchy 'Antigona' bag is the satchel that so many other satchels aspire to be. It is a thing of beauty, and a serious purchase at just shy of $2500.
  • Ah, Saint Laurent. Just because the brand lost the 'Yves,' doesn't mean his ladylike, timeless sensibilities aren't still with us. The Sac De Jour ($3290) is a sumptuous, perfect bag to treasure.
  • And for the truly bossy ladies out there, Nancy Gonzalez. These bags are hand-crafted in Colombia from exotic skins, and this crocodile clutch ($2200) is both totally chic and a little bit frightening.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

WEEKEND LISTENING: NICK MULVEY


{ "So whether music or madness, live by one of the two" }

To make up for the lack of MWMM this week, I offer up a little treasure of an EP I just discovered on Thursday. After listening to his cover of Taylor Swift's "We are Never Getting Back Together," in the BBC Live Lounge, I investigated just what this Nick Mulvey is up to. Turns out he formally studied music and art in Havana, Cuba, and then picked up guitar when he was 18 and living in southern Spain. And also, he looks like he does.

Anyway, he has a full length album available to purchase on iTunes, but this EP is also lovely, and free. The Spanish guitar influence is obvious throughout, giving me serious Vicky, Christina Barcelona vibes with a dash of Bon Iver and Lord Huron. It's kind of mystical storytelling, and incredibly soothing music. I am crushing hard on "Fever To The Form," but the whole thing is just just transportive. Perfect for a September Saturday. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

{PETITE OUTFIT MOMENT} ALL NAVY EVERYTHING...



I know I haven't been much for posting outfits recently, but with a small crop of new fall goodies in my closet, I couldn't resist a quick snap. I was lucky enough to do a little shopping with my mom at Nordstrom and J. Crew when I was home, and finally got my hands on the Equipment blouse I've been coveting for so long, and a flirty little pleated skirt from J. Crew I've worn no less than six times in the past few weeks. It's hard to see here, but the fit is a little high waisted, and the pleats don't go all the way up—so it lays smooth and flatters my non-existent hips. As for the Vans, I ordered those right quick when I posted this, and so far I am loving them. They're a little rough to break in, but still crazy comfortable.

Of late, I've become pretty obsessed with wearing black, white and navy almost exclusively. Sure, I will come around out of this phase eventually, but at the moment I'm seeing this as a chance to continue building an adult wardrobe of interchangeable essentials and separates that can be worn with prints and brights when I'm feeling inspired.

Anyway, monochromatic and/or mixing black and navy is my new style mantra for fall. What's yours?


[Photo credit: Emily Sher]

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

{NYFW SS15} THE BOXY BABES AT J. CREW...


{ J. Crew Spring 2015 }

The dawn of the age of all boxy everything is upon us. The most stylish girls siting front (and second, and third...) row at the shows this week were all wearing exaggerated, voluminous and decidedly not figure-flattering ensembles. Many of them resembled the looks from yesterday's J. Crew presentation. And with them? Flat, wide sandals a la Birkenstock and classic Adidas Stan Smith tennies.

Myself? I'm relishing the popularity of boxy. I have always loved to swath my rather curveless frame in oversized blouses and sweaters and dresses shaped like tents, because for some reason looking bigger makes me feel smaller inside my clothes. Strange psychology, but true. Hence, I am digging this. I love the short-sleeve button-up shirts and that boxy tunic worn over a shimmy-worthy midi. Oh, and do I even have to mention the pockets? Didn't think so.

Then there's the rest of you: normal, feminine women who love to be women and look like women. I think that's why J. Crew paired all these shapeless looks with sexy sandals and pumps. Because really, if you're going to do that much blousing, that much tunic and that long of hemline, you need to give your legs as much of an advantage as possible. With a pretty red lip and a plunging neckline, these models are towing the line of tomboy and girly girl—and isn't that always the goal with J. Crew?

The most interesting—and I predict problematic—trend in this collection is the slouchy bermuda-length shorts. If your legs aren't twigs and you happen to have 2014's most coveted bodily asset, these aren't going to look that great. As with many designers, it's problematic to design a whole collection around a body type that doesn't occur naturally very often—but when it comes to J. Crew, it's fortunate that their "collection" pieces make up only a small portion of their offerings each season.

Image credits: J. Crew / BPCM

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

{NYFW SS15} WHY IT'S SO EASY TO LOVE ROSIE ASSOULIN...


{ Rosie Assoulin Spring/Summer 2015 }

I'm not a proper fashion critic, so coming up with the right words to describe any given collection is not easy. Take this latest offering from new-to-the-scene American designer Rosie Assoulin. In layman's terms, I just love the look of these pieces, and how they are styled together. The outfits are complete and cool. So—forgive my kookie wording—but lets get into this further.

The aesthetic of Assoulin's brand is mostly focused on crisp volume and rich colors, which, though certainly luxe, is ultimately pretty wearable. I found myself walking out of the Tibi show this weekend behind Leandra Medine, who was wearing this Rosie Assoulin top, and I was floored by how elegantly cool she looked—minus the sneakers, which just aren't my thing. The bell sleeves were eye-catching and the off-the-shoulder silhouette is strikingly sexy, but when you pair that much top with simple shorts, the effect is like a cliché "runway to real way" article come to life. 

Anyway, I feel like the tiered red midi skirt above is something I would really and truly wear, could I afford it. What's more, I'd probably just tuck in a white shirt and throw my hair back in a little pony, too. In her presentation, Assoulin is essentially making "runway" and "real way" the same thing. 

So, there we are: It's fanciful and dramatic, but like, can I haz for real

Check out the full collection on style.com.