Saturday, November 28, 2009

IFB Links a la Mode - November 26th, 2009

links a la mode

Beyond Fashion

Edited by Retro Chick

This weeks Links à la Mode blows away any preconceived ideas of the narcissistic fashion blogger posting endless outfit photos and magazine shoots by covering a huge array of topics. Ranging from Dream Sequins whimsical birthday tea party to High Fashion Girls detailed examination of racism in fashion magazines, these posts demonstrate what we’re capable of and the communities we can build.

Of course, being fashion bloggers there are also some great outfits to be found and our bloggers this week have looked at: movies, from Bollywood to Sci fi; their pyjama drawers; and even their cleaning cupboard in their ceaseless search to bring you fashion inspiration.

As ever there’s many more exciting links on the original forum thread


Links à la Mode : November 26th

  • British Style Bloggers – Intrinsically Florrie on British Style Bloggers on how you can support the lovely Luella brand in it’s time of need

  • Dream Sequins – The stylish guests at a virtual birthday tea party (Part 2)!!

  • Fashion X K8 – The Fashion Blogging community being analoguous to “The Girls” in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof

  • FashionHippo – Best Organic Lip Balms: 6 Natural Picks to Nourish Your Pout

  • Fete a fete – Guerlain’s Imperial Holiday makeup collection review

  • High Fashion Girl – Racism & Fashion

  • Idiosyncratic Style – Idiosyncratic Style dares you to re-think the possibilities of Pajamas outside the house

  • In Life and In Fashion – How to dress with Bollywood Flair

  • Lillys Roses – The new charity tshirts by TV-Star C.F. for the eco label armeangels

  • M.I.S.S. – She’s Crafty: DIY First Place Ribbon Accessories

  • Mariels Castle – Are we trully free when it comes to our fashion choices?

  • Oranges and Apples – What are charity shops for? Thoughts sparked by Mary Portas’ new Save the Children shop

  • Prom Mafia – Happy Accident: How to bleach fun designs on your clothes

  • Quirky Fashion – Movies that Inspired Fashion

  • Retro Chick – Buy Audrey Hepburns Wardrobe

  • Shoe Daydreams – Why Knock-offs are Bad for the Soul

  • Style on a String – Confessions of an UGG Lover and Wearer (but only indoors!)

  • THE COVETED – Coach Holiday : Review & Giveaway!

  • The Demoiselles – Wing Tips: Finding a Tailor

  • Work Chic – Win a Sondra Roberts SR squared Shopper tote!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Knock-offs Are Bad for the Soul

Yesterday I posted another in a very long series of "Imitation = Flattery?" where I expose what I feel to be shoes that have crossed over from the trend inspiration realm and go way more into the blatent ripping off of another company's designs.

I wanted to clarify why I detest this practice so much and what I feel is really so wrong about buying these shoes and supporting the companies who engage in this regularly (*cough cough Steve Madden cough cough*).

To me it comes right down to theft.

Many would argue that the practice of knocking-off is no where near as egregious as is the explosion of counterfeiting going on the shoe world today (BTW - check out Michelle's new resource site: but I saw that it is.

These companies are stealing ideas aka Intellectual Property Theft.

I work in an industry where we are hired to generate ideas and to create concepts, so to me intellectual property theft is a huge issue. Essentially, someone has the audacity to come in, take advantage of the hard work, creativity and innovation we have worked hard to create and just slightly tweak it to serve there ends. When this happens, customers become confused, the original message is diluted and the value we created is minimized.

This is true for large marketing campaigns, but it is true for fashion and shoes as well.

Yes, as a consumer, it is very tempting to see a designer shoe that you fall in love with and realize that it is out of your price range. It can be very tempting when you find a very similar copy to want to buy the less expensive piece to get the same look.

But if you love the original you shouldn't and I'll tell you why.

Because every time you do that, you are helping to put the original designer out of business.

The innovation and creativity is not coming from the company doing the "inspired by" piece. They are not investing time and money to create new looks, to do research and hire experienced talented individuals. How can the first company continue to do business when they outlay all the costs and then get undercut in the end?

Sadly, it is still very difficult, not to mention expensive, for companies to prosecute against the fakes although they are trying to fight back. It doesn't help that there are laws in some countries that do a poor job of protecting original designs. Our favorite Despotic Queen of Shoes, ImeldaMatt, worked on an expose into Australia's high street rip-offs (make sure to see the original post and the Camilla Skovgaard post that started it):

I have to agree with Wendy Brandes, a designer herself, who made the following comment on an earlier post:

"No one has an inalienable right to wear designer looks. There were no fast fashion runway knockoffs back in the '80s and '90s when I couldn't afford designer clothes (excluding ABS). We wore other things! Put together our own non-designer outfits! It would be nice if the H&Ms and Forever21s came up with their own looks, but then how would they churn out product at such a fast clip? The inspiration well runs dry pretty fast."

I think fashion and good design can come at all price points. I've said many times that I don't care what the pedigree or cost is for a particular shoe - if it's cute I'll get it. I also like to spend my money on unique original ideas. I want to support that no matter where it comes from. That's why I typically don't buy "plain" shoes. What I want is for these companies to spend their time thinking up ideas at price points all along the range.

But if consumers keep buying the fakes, they won't. And if we keep buying the fakes and knock-offs we are going to limit the amount of great designs put out there for us to get excited about.

And that should make us very sad indeed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Imitation = Flattery?

While I was on Twitter today I received an update from Lucky (@LuckyMagazine) talking about their online store and how the items were "curated by their editors". So I thought I would take a peek at what they had out there.

I opened the site and saw this and was immediately shocked. Why? See that sparkly bejeweled sandal...

Here's a closer look...

Yes, it is a total knock-off (rip-off!) by BCBG of the Miu Miu Capretto sandal from the Resort 2007/2008 line. I even wrote about them... and ordered them (but I ended up returning them. Sad face.)

I know these are a few seasons back and the price difference is significant but I'm surprised that a major fashion publication is knowingly promoting these shoes that are obvious and less well executed lifts from Miu Miu's designs. Is it possible that they didn't notice it? Or did Dillards (where these sandals are being sold) just buy space on the Lucky site and this over-rode the whole authenticity of the "curated" statement.
Which would be worse to you - lying, ignorance, theft? I'd love your thoughts.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ensemble du Jour

Yeah! More outfit posts!

This was the outfit I wore on Thursday. I went in to Anthropologie about a week ago and totally caved for these three pieces. I was in the mood to get something snuggly and fell in love with this sweater/jacket.

What I like most is the softness of the colors here but the structure of the lines in the sweater.

I'm waving to my pup in the window who was barking at me.

Isn't this a neat piece?

I wanted all soft colors but even with the muted tones this is sort of a statement piece.

Underneath the structure is a lot of softness... a blush pink chiffon/knit top with a lovely rosette.


I wore those with a simple black pencil skirt but I wanted to add some more shine to tie in with the necklace so I wore one of my absolute favorite shoes... these Celine croc buckle heels from 7-8 years ago.

These are one of the most comfortable pair of heels I own. And the insole is the palest pink as well. I bit of extra hidden matching!

Ensemble du Jour

I'm trying to catch up on my outfit posts. Sadly, my day-to-day small camera is, as I've mentioned, crap. And getting dark by 5pm really impedes on my picture taking time. So I made the hubby take pics today of my outfits from during the week.

This is what I wore on Wednesday. Quite a long day since we had vet appointments for the dogs and then I taught a class that night and then came home to do more work... so basically I was on the go from 6:30a.m. until 1:00a.m.

At least I was comfy.

It was chilly but not overly so.

I wore a black Merona baby-doll style jacket over a red Gap v-neck which was paired with a creme mini-skirt from Anthropologie.

I have a huge collection of vintage gloves and I really love to wear wrist-length ones, especially if they have a neat element like these with the stitching and scalloped edges.

These gloves are usually just a few dollars so grab them when you can. I think I have about 15 pairs and they aren't too precious so you can actually use them and not worry.

I like how the glove detail matches the cut-out design on the Nine West Ruffle mary janes.

More pics at Flickr.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

IFB Links a la Mode - November 19th, 2009

links a la mode

Food for Thought

Edited by Ashe Mischief

This is my first time editing since I wrote Good Cop/Bad Cop: Participating in Links a la Mode. Thank you all so much for making this my most pleasurable experience in editing yet!

I’m not sure if it’s because American Thanksgiving is a week away, or because the blogosphere is ablaze with Kate Mosses’ unforgettable quote, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” but either way, I’ve got food on my mind. This week, you brought me the best kind of food–rich, decadent, and 100% calorie-free! That’s right–you delivered highly thoughtful posts on fashion, fashion blogging & communities, and more.

On a personal note, ferOHHHsh has asked that we share her post about her close friend’s near-fatal accident. I believe that the fashion community is one of surprising strength, dignity, caring and compassion, and that it was worth sharing. We’re sending your friend speedy thoughts for a wonderful recovery!

Links à la Mode : November 19th

  • Awakened Aesthetic: – Eco-Friendly Stocking Stuffers (Part I)

  • Crisis in Denim: – Crisis in Denim: I make gentle fun of a Banana Republic ‘rewards’ card I received in the mail, that seems designed to make me think I accomplished something by shopping at BR and earning ‘rewards’ points, by riffing on the president’s Yes We Can slogan.

  • dramatis personae: – the Hat’s Out of the Bag! by Michelle at Wicked Whimsy

  • Fashion X K8: – The importance of Fashion Ad Campaigns and analyzing the collective subconcious of fashion consumers. I beg the question, what makes a great Fashion Ad.

  • Further Ado: – With many of their paper equivalents going bust, Further Ado finds 5 great online fashion magazines to keep you satisfied.

  • Grit and Glamour: – yesterday The Psychology of Lace Lace, in spite of its implied fragility, holds very special power in the sartorial world.

  • Idiosyncratic Style – Infatuation List: Five Fall Fashion Favorites

  • Independent Fashion Bloggers – Fashion Blogging : The Road Ahead

  • kaKofonie Of si(gh)lenS: – Interview with Lauren Jones of mydearthing

  • Mystery Creature: – I love vintage, I love handmade… but I don’t love Etsy, as much as I want to.

  • Oranges and Apples: – What drives fashion bloggers? Oranges and Apples in the Scotsman

  • Random Fashion Coolness: – Musings on the power-partnerships in the Blogosphere

  • Shoe Daydreams: – Collaborations and “inspiration”

  • slsvgg fashion: – An interview with Gossip Girl actress LEIGHTON MEESTER, on her style

  • Somewhere over the Skyline…: – rugality? Sustainability? The Recession! – Thoughts & Recommendations on Sustainable/Vintage Lifestyles

  • Super Kawaii Mama: – Meet the Dr. of Dames and her new book Our Girl’s – Aussie Pin Up’s of the 40’s & 50’s

  • THE COVETED: – Benefits of Chilly Days… Coats!

  • The Curvy Fashionista – Got the Plus Size Bridal Dress woes? Enter in Cc.Elaine- A studio dedicated to the Curvy.Confident.Chic. Plus Size Bride

  • The New Wave: – Underwear as Outerwear: How to wear this spring’s runway trend using vintage pieces.

  • The Pixelated Blonde – Fashion: it’s an individual thing – a look at how to be stylish whilst maintaining one’s individuality.

  • White Rabbit: – vs. Flickr’s Wardrobe Remix – the battle of “What I wore today” sites

  • Wicked Whimsy: – Rene Geneva Designs – featuring a local, woman run eco-friendly design house that makes gorgeous clothes to boot!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chloe and Me

Ever since I saw this on the runway...
I've been obsessing over these... The Chloe two-tone wedge heel ankle boots. They have that safari British Colonial look that I really adore.

Well, I had to break down and get them. They are even more adorable in person.

I think these will be obsessively worn as much as my Ann D.'s

There are tons of ways to wear them. Because of their sporty yet classic look they really can be dressed up or down. Cherry Blossom Girl does a great series of looks in them that I'm sure to find influencing my own choices.

Sadly, even though they just arrived and I can't wait to wear them, I am so worn out (today was exhausting and had us running from 6:30 a.m. until almost midnight), I can't even envision what I am going to pair them with first.
I guess I will have to dream about the perfect outfit.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Imitation = Flattery?

Typically when I do an "Inspriation = Flattery?" post I'm talking about how a company is knocking off or heavily leveraging the design of another company or designer. But what I am seeing more and more (I'm sure you are too) are celebrity lines somewhat claiming to be based on the spokesperson's style but in reality reproducing the real designer pieces they wear in public.

And with the "celebrity" blogger gaining more and more prominence, it was bound to happen in the blogging realm too. The J. Aldridge by Sea of Shoes collection at Urban Outfitters is really one of the first... I'm sure more are to follow.

Now right off the bat, I am not knocking Jane from Sea of Shoes and I'm entirely basing this on my own opinion and perceptions combined with the PR where Jane states that she designed the shoes based on what she has in her closet. That's more than most companies will say! I just find it interesting that these companies (not just this particular instance) will dumb down and knock off a designer style rather than think up new pretty shoes on their own. I will buy cute shoes at any price point but I don't want lame substitutes.

As stated in the UO press release:

"Jane Aldridge may be just 17 years old, but the Dallas-based fashion blogger has an impressive global following on her personal style blog, Sea of Shoes. "Ever since I've reached my full shoe size I've been fanatical about collecting shoes," says Aldridge. "That's how my blog got started, as a means of chronicling my addiction to beautiful footwear and the evolution of my personal style," she adds.

The magnetic Texas teen has to wear a school uniform five days a week with a one and a half inch heel rule, but outside of class, flats are the last thing you'll see her wearing. From YSL cage heels and Chanel bow-tie booties to Margiela clogs, Aldridge pairs her favored heels with equally envied outfits. And now, she has found another creative outlet for her passion; designing shoes herself, with the help of Urban Outfitters.

Launching next month, J. Aldridge by Sea of Shoes is a capsule collection of three styles, exclusive to Urban Outfitters. Dramatic knee-high brown leather peep-toe boots feature top-stitched detailing and lacing at the front, black gladiator heels with studs and twin buckle straps, and lace-up, pointy skimmers. "I'm really excited to bring my designs to Urban Outfitters," says Aldridge. "The inspiration for this collection is a mish-mash of some of the elements of my favorite pairs—sort of Victoriana meets gladiator warrior."

So here are what I think are the inspirations pieces and the actual shoe in UO.

Top - Chanel bow booties in pink, mesh and black. Bottom - JA SOS Satin Bow Heels in pink and black.

Next - Chloe Lace-up Wedge Booties from Jane's shoe picks for Fall 2009.

Left - Chloe bootie. Right - JA SOS Wedge Bootie

Next, Spring 2006 Prada lace-up peep-toe boots.

I think the JA SOS Laced Boots are a combo of the Ann Demeulemeester triple lace boots and the Prada peep-toe boots.

Last on the left are the Ann Demeulemeester open lace sandal heels and the JA SOS laced flats.

Jane is a very pretty girl who has a great sense of style... combined with access to and the ability to buy amazing new and vintage designer clothes and shoes. She also has a mother, very stylish herself, who has a history as a model and working in the retail business, I believe.

I'd be curious to know how much of the designing she was able to do and how much was Urban Outfitters sifting through her closet and finding pieces they could bring down to a more mass-market level. I'd also love to know, if anyone has bought these, what the quality is like.

As with most celebrity lines and their "creators", I'm waiting to see Jane wearing "her" pieces. Chloe Sevigny is the only one that comes to mind who wore her shoes out quite a bit. Jane has a lot of fans and is getting a lot of attention. I think that is great. What I don't think is great is that her name is being used to sell a product that she didn't really come up with and that she doesn't wear.

Does this bother anyone else?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yellow with Envy

There are a few colors that I just cannot wear. I wish that I could but they just make me look sallow and jaundiced and, well, horrendous.

Orange is one but another is a bright golden yellow, like the Pantone color of 2009 - Mimosa.

I had not thought about this for a while but I was watching Dangerous Liaisons today and I was reminded about how I would kill to be able to wear the classic combination of rich yellow and deep black, as Glenn does in this scene.

I also loved Gwyneth Paltrow's Parisan outfit in View from the Top.

But a movie that really kicked off the love for this color combo was a very bad made for TV movie, Tears on the Rain, featuring a very young Sharon Stone.

I love the dress, the embellished gloves and you have to love the matching hair ribbon.

Of course all three of these ladies are blonds and, since I would also look horrible as a blonde, it isn't going to happen.

But if you can rock this color, I will try and be happy for you and not jealous.

I love this coat which, surprisingly, is from Victoria's Secret and pretty inexpensive at $129

I could probably get away with wearing these Oh Deer! Toffee "taxi" shoes. They are sold out now but I think that you can find them around.

Or I can get a pair of yellow gloves like Ms WendyB and wear them with a black coat. and boots.

If you can wear this color, share how or what you wear.

Hopefully I have better luck with 2010's color!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Color Study - Orange

Ready for the next installment of the Color Study series?

Orange is pretty unrepresented in my closet. I cannot wear it in shirt form at all, although I really do like the color. And I only, obviously, have a few shoes that barely squeak in to the group.

Since there are only five (I don't think I've added any since I took these) it will be easy to break it down:

Top Row, left to right:

- Guiseppe Zanotti Cam Albiconna Nappa
- Hetty Rose Love Platforms
- JCrew Liz in Neon Orange

Bottom Row, left to right:

- Isaac Mizrahi Hannah Orange Flash
- Olivia Rose Tal Silvy II

The details are the best part:

I have a free weekend... maybe blues or greens next???