A Bright Blaze(r)

People chuckle when they reflect on their fashion faux -pauses of the 80s.  So passé? Think again. Tremendously teased hair and frosty bubble gum lipstick are two things that victimized high profile women in favor of following fashion but there are many other things we can be grateful for which were debuted in that decade. One item worth mentioning happens to be very popular right now: hotly hued blazers.  The jacket can bethe slightly elongated referred to as a “boyfriend blazer” and sometimes worn with rolled up sleeves for a relaxed look.  The story high shoulder pads of the 80s have been removed and the geometric shaped buttons ripped off; the updated look on the market are functional and the perfect seasonal transition piece. These are my picks:

Threadsence.com- $62

The Fashion Scoop- $328

Urban Outfitters- $78

*Picture from J.Crew


Fashion Morals- Designer Imitations: Toms vs. Bobs

Copying designers’ blueprints and recreating pieces for different brands with lower prices is not a new idea.  Selling knockoff bags on the bustling streets of New York City can end in arrests, albeit the illicit career has simultaneously paved the way for an entire faux Coach and Louis Vuitton accessories industry.

As rapidly as pictures of celebrities in thousand dollar gowns go viral, so too do lower cost copies by companies such as ABS by Allen Schwartz.  The Alexander McQueen masterpiece donned at the Royal Wedding was celebrated with praise and twin imitations hanging in bridal shops the moment the ceremony aired.  Sure, stealing designs is a prevalent problem, but at least high-end designers’ target audience members are affluent, money squandering starlets, not thrifty deal seekers.  When a product is modeled off of a signature pattern by say, Missoni, it might be upsetting that the concept was stolen, but at least the person buying the imitation could probably never afford the real thing.

It is not unusual for me to find items in my closet which look similar to pieces sold at an assortment of shops.  A trend is a trend, so there is nothing suspicious about seeing two different striped shirts with epaulets atop lightly padded shoulders on different floors of the mall.  But then there are those times where the details share such a strong resemblance, you just know one had to be “borrowing” more than inspiration from the other.

Today, as I was scanning a magazine, I came across an uncanny advertisement for slip-on shoes.  Let’s just say I was surprised and appalled when my eyes met the words on the page promoting the new Sketchers BOBS shoes.  The footwear featured before me was almost identical to TOMS shoes in style, intent, variety, and even title.  The flat bottom, the silver sparkle “formal” style, even the striped tag attached to the side– everything was nearly identical right down to the one-for-one campaign.  Since the name TOMS was taken, they chose an even more generic mens name to brand the product, one that lacked creativity and significance. I found myself questioning how the popular shoe branch, which had smoothly burgeoned into a successful company, got cheated by a brand which had been around for long enough to know how to produce novel ideas.  When my laughter and anger subsided I was flummoxed by a surprising emotion.  I felt a sense of compassion.  With the BOBS shoe line using the same pitch, it meant Sketchers had signed on to help people in the very way TOMS had vowed, which also meant more free shoes for those in need.  Maybe it wasn’t fair to complain.  The more children who get the help they require, the better off the world is.  Basic clothing is an essential need, and walking without shoes can expose feet to hurt and harm.

Similarly, in 2011, Justin Bieber unleashed his perfume, Someday, a scent contained in a bottle with a pink and red 3-D heart-shaped petal lid, a copycat of the packaging for Marc Jacobs’ scent, Lola.  It is not that people didn’t notice, but the problem was brushed aside by eager shoppers because the profits from Bieber’s fragrance get donated to two charities.  Anything we can do to help, right?

Well, maybe not. It is not fair, especially in the case of Sketchers, to just steal an idea in its entirety.  Luckily TOMS has branched out and started selling sunglasses in addition to shoes; and it is likely that people will recognize and differentiate between TOMS and BOBS when they find them in stores.  It is easy to overlook slight similarities, but when something is evidently replicated it is wrong for someone else to take the credit and collect the monetary benefits.  It is hard to determine if more indigent children are reaping the benefits of the footwear gifts with the addition of BOBS own one for one model.  Because of the closeness in price between Sketchers and TOMS, people may have still been interested in purchasing from the TOMS line before BOBS was introduced.  Ironically, TOMS offers more choices and is just a few dollars more expensive. TOMS basic beige canvas weighs in at $44, a mere two dollar difference from those in the BOBS line.

Shoulder Extension

The one-shoulder dress has tacked more material transforming into an edgy one-sleeve dress, a top hit of 2011.  Now minis with a sole long sleeve are popping up everywhere.  The style has caught on because everyone appreciates a peek of skin balanced with strategic covering.  Most frequently these dresses are tight and slinky, a party approved option. Otherwise they are often loose with a wide bell sleeve, an appropriate style for fancier events.  The look is great for wild dresses because the look is not so dramatic that you have to limit to yourself to vetoing ones with heavy prints, rhinestones, or neckline embellishment, but the cut will still get noticed regardless of how plain you go with the rest of the dress.  Kick it up with killer stilettos and get ready to rock the planet!  These are my picks:

Lulus.com- $59

Nordstrom- $265

The Fashion Scoop- $198

*Picture from Nordstrom

Designer Corner- Lacoste

It is time for pay homage to sporty style, a category often neglected by me and my favorite shopping websites.  The fact of the matter is though, pragmatic active wear deserves its own dresser drawer.   A designer who specializes in this is type of fashion is Lacoste, exporting items from the French label to the United States since the 1950s.  Shopping to cover all bases, head to toe, man or woman, child or adult can be done in one stop shopping with the Lacoste brand. You recognize the label by the small alligator insignia tagging nearly all casual items. They have even taken their symbol like Ralph Lauren Polo and inflated it on items like their original short sleeve tops making the amphibian unmistakable for any sort of imitation icon.

1. Buy classic.  They are always adding things to their more favored and standard pieces, drawstrings, extra buttons, an overbearing pattern, etc. Usually I am all for stepping out of the norm, but the tops which are not embellished with extra things are the timeless ones you can wear year after year without looking like a jester.

Shirt- $88

2. Be sure to check out the cute athletic gear, especially sneakers.  I love walking shoes that aren’t bulky!  For serious work-outs and sports activities you need a thick sole and a heavier shoe than most of ones they sell, but for a light game of tennis, or walks in the park, get a shapely shoe that provides excellent comfort.  Be the best dressed girl on the court with their apparel designed for tennis and golf.

Tennis skirt- $37

3. Flaunt your purchase.  It’s exciting to buy designer brands, but shirts that say Juicy Couture and Marc Jacobs in huge letters just for the heck of it?  You’re not a billboard and advertising like that should be making you money, not the other way around.  I can handle nonchalant wording or a headband worth of Burberry’s tartan print, but I especially HATE when fancy items like pretty dresses are labeled in an egregious font on the outside.  Lacoste’s small insignia shows off your savvy shopper skills and pricey purchase without appearing ostentatious.

Shoes- $59

Dress To Impress For Less VIII- Back To School Part III

Another back to school look, and don’t worry, you’re allowed to repeat items separately or as shown here as a complete outfit. If clothing gets issued a value per wear, that means the featured top can cost only fifty cents by the end of the year!

Sunglasses, Charlotte Russe- $3

Shirt, Macy’s- $9

Shorts, Old Navy- $15

Belt, Wet Seal- $8

Shoes, DSW- $15

Total- $50

My Two Cents: A Pair Of Penny Loafers

Along with striving for total gender equality in the workforce (starting with eliminating sexual harassment and evening out comparative pay) I would like to see fairness in dressing expectations as well. Probably not as essential or urgent, but doesn’t it seem cheap that women show up to clubs in cocktail dresses doused with sequins and men wear baggy shirts and backwards hats?  Some effort! But even if men refuse to seize the opportunity to look hot, girls can steal their chance in clothes with a masculine flair.  Paired with obvious girly touches such as polka dots, lace, Peter Pan collars, etc. menswear pieces can make women look sexy and polished.  Wave goodbye to the flared frocks and say hello to unisex picks, vests, wool fedoras, and long blazers.  As far as shoes, flat loafers are the perfect pick for fancy or casual wear.  There is no need to sacrifice style for comfort when borrowing tips from the boys.  Sadly, penny loafers don’t cost that as little as their name denotes, but if it is any consolation, you will look a million bucks. These are my picks:

Topshop- $20

Old Navy- $25

J.Crew- $148

Zappos.com- $63

Teen Choice Awards 2011

The Teen Choice Awards presented Taylor Swift with her 13th award, had Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez quelling break-up rumors with cute canoodling and celebrated the accolades of many other performers.  For Demi Lovato it hasn’t been the easiest year.  She recently came back strong with her new single “Skyscraper” and now proved that she has overcome tough personal obstacles, looking better than ever at the weekend’s award show.  She walked in with a sun-kissed glow, her locks long and curled, wearing a pretty dress with neon yellow trim.  The penultimate in the Kardashian family (actually a Jenner) Kendall, looked stunning as always in a plum dress with statement sleeves and corseted bodice.  I loved the dress but the open neck was mature for the mere fifteen year old.  Overall I was impressed with the fashion choices.  Below are links to some of the top head-turners:

Cat Deeley

Selena Gomez

Kendall Jenner

Nina Dobrev


Hard Candy Cosmetics Review

If the name Hard Candy sounds familiar, you may remember their makeup from back when it was sold at Sephora.  Now the company has been tweaked and consumers are adjusting to the brand’s improved prices and new products found exclusively at Wal-Mart.

I tried Mouthing Off Sheer Lip Shine in Love Dove and Kal-eye-descope Baked Eyeshadow Duo in Ab Fab.  The packaging on both was cute, looking friendly and modern.  Still, when I opened the eyeshadow I was not expecting much.  The two shades in the unopened package looked like those chosen by a child experimenting with makeup for the first time.  I tried them out on a weekend when I had no plans scheduled.  I will admit I was afraid I would like a clown at work or a Barbie on a date.  But after trying it, I now wear the shadow proudly when I leave the house.  The purple looked beautiful atop my brown eyes and added originality to my look.  The small compact did not come with a brush, but with a back and forth sweep I had the right amount of shadow for a packed day.  The pink was not my favorite color for eyeshadow but that too looked nice enough when I wore it with the purple or in a small dose alone.

My favorite part of the lip product was its yummy sweet smell, like candy!  The gloss had very little pigment (they were not lying about the sheer sheen) but could work well as a top coat to pink lipstick.  It had some shimmer that reflected in the light.  It was not incredibly sticky, though on a windy day my hair would probably still be magnetized to my mouth. I would recommend the lip gloss if you need a new one that gives you a little something extra without wanting all the bells in whistles, color, outrageous shine, etc.  Sometimes simple can go a long way.

Be sure to check out more products here: Hard Candy