"Feeling unique is a habit you shouldn't give up."

- Alberto Fermani

"Anyone can get all dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their off days that is the most intriguing."

-Alexander Wang


Would she approve?

Remember when I mentioned that the "Coco Before Chanel" movie had me thinking about dressing in a bit of a different way? Here's how I might do a cocktail party if I had Coco on my mind. Sophisticated and sexy yet completely comfortable. I think she would totally approve.

Bringing Sexy (and Dangerous) Back

My most recent obsession, "Spine".

Last weekend, I went to the art festival at Reston Town Center to check out an artist that was showing there who I know from high school. I was totally amazed and impressed. There were some fantastic artists- not just a few but a lot and the festival was huge so that is saying something. But I was totally blown away by the woman I went to see. Her name is AnaMarie Paredes and she is local by way of McLean, VA. She's a metal sculptor which I find to be intriguing in and of itself. Her pieces are something very special. They are intricate and presumably heavy but still had a delicacy to them that I loved. My favorite piece, though, and the one I can't stop thinking about was called "Spine." It is sexy and dangerous and something I would love to have in my home. It got me thinking about how practical dressing is important but every woman needs to have at least a little sexy and dangerous in their lives. So here's an outfit inspired by "Spine"- totally and completely inappropriate for the playground, or walking the dog, or most of life's inane daily activites. But it is definitely sexy and definitely hints at danger and, most importantly, will make you feel like the confident, gorgeous woman you are. Where to wear it? How about an art opening?


State Dinner Round 2

So Julianna Smoot has replaced Desiree Rogers as the new White House Social Secretary. Speaking only from a style perspective, what a let down! Where Rogers wore a fashion-forward Commes de Garcons white gown to the first state dinner, Smoot wore a blue something or other gown that was ill fitting and unflattering. It was so "Washington" it made me sigh out loud. Had we taken one step forward then two steps back? Thank goodness Michele Obama knocked it out of the park (again) with a shimmering electric blue one shoulder gown by Peter Soronen. Of course the Salahi's undoubtedly played a role in Rogers demise but a lot has been made in the press about how much attention she herself garnered for her anti-Washington style and (I think) good looks. One quote I read suggested that her problem was that she became part of the story and that was not acceptable. But WHO made her part of the story??? The press! They loved that she is beautiful and well-dressed and they covered it. Would she have been better off dressing like Smoot? Maybe if she wanted to keep her job. But I am glad that she gave the world a view of a different kind of style-maker in the White House. One that showed up-to-the-minute taste, an ability to set her own trends rather than follow them or, worse, ignore them completely for fear of being seen as something other than intelligent. I guess Ms. Obama will have to trailblaze updated high-fashion style all alone.

As for other State Dinner Round 2 style-makers... there weren't a lot. (Celebrities don't count, by the way!) And there were a couple of horrible, horrible dresses. I mean, jeez, don't these people use a stylist?! Since I've already thrown Smoot under the bus, I guess I'll refrain from continuing my attack. Let me just say, if you are the wife of a foreign president, SOMEONE should be guiding your dress choices. AND, just because you're going to a dinner honoring the president of Mexico does NOT mean you should wear a salsa dress. Remember the red, midriff-baring dress on what's her name from the state dinner honoring the president of India? You get the point.


Two Fashion Icons

She wore pants!!!

The stunning black dress.

For Mother's Day, I received from my husband and kids a very, very thoughtful gift- two dvd's, "Coco Before Chanel" and "Valentino, The Last Emperor." They are very different beginning with the Valentino story which is a documentary while the Chanel movie is not. I highly recommend both and, if you've ever wondered about what the true meaning of haute couture is, "Valentino" is a wonderful, interesting, intriguing, and UNBELIEVABLE look into the creation from sketch to runway of haute couture as well as the lifestlye of the people involved in it. But the Chanel movie has inspired me the past two weeks with regards to getting dressed each day and that has been a lot of fun!

Audrey Tatou (of "Amelie" fame which is another of my favorite movies) plays Coco Chanel and is charming and aggressive, beautiful and masculine, business savvy and creatively genius, all at the same time. Wait... did I just describe Ms. Chanel or Audrey Tatou playing Ms. Chanel? I'm not sure but I guess that is why the performance was so great. The story, as the title suggests, follows Gabrielle Chanel from her childhood in an orphanage all the way to her debut of Chanel ready-to-wear. The costumes that Audrey Tatou wears are so phenomenal and just cool that it really had me thinking about how comfortable beautiful fashion can be. In particular, a black evening gown that she wears dancing at the casino with her lover while on a holiday... so stunning. But it was how Ms. Chanel dressed daily that was really interesting and very, very different for her time. There was truly a masculinity that she brought to fashion that did not exist before her which is not really how you think of the fashion house Chanel today. Check it out if you've ever wanted to know more about her. And, it is very interesting to do a little research on her besides the movie, too... quite a scandalous, and sometimes questionnable past. Like so many other great artists, she was a real person and far from perfect. But definitely worth knowing about.


I'm staying focused on super casual but cute outfits to wear this summer. It's definitely helped me to make an effort when I'm getting dressed each day. And, in case you hadn't noticed, I've been making an effort to keep the pieces very affordable. This has helped me really focus for myself the things I'm adding to my own wardrobe. My new, economy-friendly theory is that it has to look really good on (no so-so's just because it fits), I have to be able to say that I wouldn't rather spend that money on something else, and I am stopping myself from throwing things in my cart at Target just because they only cost $19.99. $19.99 adds up when you get two or three every time you walk in there! So here's another one. I think I'll do two more and then rework the items to make more than 5 outfits.


Making an Ordinary Day Special

I have had an action-packed past few days... almost all of which included my kids and being outside. Actually, the past few days is what my life is like on a regular basis the only difference being that I was mixing the kid activities with some social stuff, too. So, it went something like this- Friday- drop off at preschool, gym, playground, pick up from preschool, lunch out, swim lesson, dinner, get kids ready for bed, out for dinner and drinks with friends. Saturday- walk in Old Town, shopping at market, picnic at park in DC with friends and kids, walk in Old Town with extended family, dinner out. Sunday- trip to farm/playground extraordinaire with kids, art show at winery, lunch out, home to RELAX!!! What to wear, what to wear to all these fun but relatively dirty outdoor activities at which I needed to be able to run around and then walk into a restaurant and still look appropriate and special? That is always the struggle. Of course, it doesn't matter if it is children you are running after. It could be walking your dog, stopping off at Eastern Market for some shopping, brunch at a restaurant, home to get ready for friends coming over for dinner and drinks at your place. Et cetera, et cetera, you get the picture. The point is, you need to be able to move around, be comfortable, and still look great! Here are a couple of options. Don't forget to accessorize! That is the key!


Almost SUMMER!

I really, really love warm weather. I actually enjoy summers in D.C., despite the humidity. Dry heat is fine with me, too. I just like it HOT! But I do think it inhibits creative dressing just a bit. It's hard to layer pieces or even wear a bunch of accessories if you're sweating in them. So here's example one of how to be super casual and still super cute in the summer. See you on the boardwalk!

I'm going to spend some time in upcoming blogs addressing how to look pulled together and still be casual. I talked about this issue in my opening blog a little bit. And, then, I just read an article in In Style about how tough it is to get it together when you have young kids. So I'll address this but the outfits will be appropriate for anyone- after all, that is the point, isn't it?