Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Compare and Contrast

Sometimes I'll look at a dress and think, "that would work way better as a skirt," or vice versa.

This is not one of those times. In fact, I can't decide whether this looks worse as a dress or as a skirt. If it's a dress, at least you don't have to figure out what top to match it with. If it's a skirt, well, there's less of it to be horrified by. The dress has molded cups. The skirt appears to be high-waisted. The dress looks like something Britney Spears would wear to the Kid's Choice Awards. The skirt looks like something a Rock of Love Contestant would wear to a job interview when her vest suit is at the dry cleaners.

Topshop Ripped Denim Bodycon Skirt - $70
Topshop Ripped Denim Dress - $100

Checks in the City

I'd like to think the name of this dress, "Weekend in the City Dress," comes from the fact that this is what clothing designers think a country girl would wear for her big trip into the city.

I can just imagine the narrative: Mama made her the dress special for the church social, but when Mama heard she was going to the city, she sewed on some extra fabric around the hips, so that the pickpockets in the city wouldn't be able to find her change purse.

At least, that's the only reasoning I can think of for why this dress has such an excess of fabric.

And this is what her slutty cousin would wear, when she sneaks out on the weekends to go neck with the city boys:

ModCloth Weekend in the City Dress - $82.99
Forever 21 Helen Gingham Knit Dress - $22.80

Southwest Flavor Leaves A Bad Taste In My Mouth

I went to Santa Fe last Christmas for the first time and loved it. It's all kinds of amazing and OH MY GOD THE FOOD IS DELICIOUS. Whenever I eat salsa now, I cry a little because it's not Tomasita's salsa. After getting back from the trip, I was depressed for a month because I wasn't there anymore.

This coat depresses me for a whole new reason:

For starters, it's ugly. It's ugly and made of those scratchy blankets that they sell in Southwest-themed gift stores where they also sell turquoise belts and dream catchers.

Second of all, I was there in the dead of winter. I was there during a snow storm. And not once did I see someone in anything that vaguely resembled this coat. I know this may be a shocking concept, but the residents of New Mexico dress just like any other member of the union - in normal coats.

Thirdly, this thing retails for $119. That's at least $60 more than one of those ugly blankets costs, and you can't buy a dreamcatcher to accompany it.

ModCloth Albuquerque Coat - $119.99

London Calling

Thanks again to Jac for these dresses. In her words:

"Dorothy Perkins is kind of like Forever 21 for Britain (though their shipping options suggest they might exist in the States; I wouldn't know). So here are some of the delights they have to offer."

"A shirt/dress for the girl who likes to map her body. Arrows pointing out to the hips (Here are my hips! Look how wide they are!) and in towards the crotch (Here's my crotch! Look how . . . okay, I can't think of anything to write to describe unflattering crotch-y-ness, but I know it's ridiculous.)."

Personally, I think it looks like a more angular Ven Diagram for the female reproductive system. Ovary on one side, ovary on the other, and the common ground of the uterus in the middle.

"Finally, available in two stunning colour combinations, a dress for the girl who both wants to maximise the appearance of her stomach AND identify the location of her crotch with giant bow. Awesome, right? Right? I can't believe I've gone this long without having arrows pointing to my crotch. How did I ever find it before?"

The giant front panel reminds me of those pregnancy panels they put in clothes to create a support system for a pregnant woman's freakishly engorged abdomen. I'm not really sure what the point of the bow is; it's not as if it gathers the material or serves a purpose. It's just there, perched atop the crotch like a bow. I don't know about you, but I'm always happiest when my crotch is well-accessorized.

And is it just me, or does this dress make you think of a mouse, with the black and then the pink armpit panels and pink bow? Seriously, stare at it for a while. Little mousey face.

Dorothy Perkins Grey 1/2 Sleeve Dress - £12
Dorothy Perkins Red Colour Block Dress - £3
Dorothy Perkins Black Colour Block Dress - £10

A Knight's T

I didn't see the Heath Ledger classic "A Knight's Tale" until my Arthurian Legend class in college.

No, really. That's when I saw it for the first time. My teacher really liked it, so she had us watch is as an example of courtly love (which, when you're not paying attention, sounds a lot like 'Courtney Love' which can lead to a lot of confusion).

But yeah. This chainmail-fronted t-shirt would fit right in with the anachronistic world of "A Knight's Tale," in which women regularly wear their hair in cornrows, men ride horses into churches while flirting, and people do formal dances to David Bowie's "Golden Years."

I can easily see one of the characters wearing this during a jousting scene. And, in truth, that's the only practical application I can think of for this t-shirt. Where else would you wear a t-shirt with one panel of chain mail?

And if you haven't seen this movie yet, watch it. First of all because it's Heath Ledger having fun, and second of all because it's kind of amazingly cheesy in a not terrible but totally awful way. They play "We Will Rock You" during a joust. Queen at a joust, people. Come on.

Topshop Mega Chainmail Panel Tee - $80

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Clothes From the Blog In Action

Thanks to Ava, who has her pulse on Manhattan's subway fashions, for sending this in:

Here you can see not one, but two different styles featured previously on the site:

The Peep Toe Bootie

I have to say, the look works here. I don't get it, and recognize that I could never make this work. However, here, it actually kind of looks good. Despite the fact that, from a basic practicality standpoint, these still bewilder me.

And the second style, The Iridescent Striped Suit:

As any fashionable subway rider knows, half of fashion is reinterpretation. Here, he's paired his vest with a pair of jeans for a more casual look. It's nice to see him taking to heart Stacy & Clinton's advice to mix and match suit pieces for a more versatile wardrobe. Luckily for us, though, he decided to keep the matching fedora.

Boobtube is Right

I'm sorry. I can't help it.

But oh my god, I love this tube top so much because I love things that are ridiculously, over the top trashy. And this is. I want to wear it with leggings and big teased hair and long acrylic nails, and sit around drinking a martini while having a totally inappropriate conversation with my teenaged daughter about my "bubbies." This makes me want to marry a man vaguely connected to the mafia so I can be on the next season of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Topshop Animal Print Boobtube - $36

Intrepid Field Reporter Melissa Presents ...

Thanks to Intrepid Field Reporter Melissa for bringing Topshop to my attention. She journeyed to the New York store a few weeks ago and tried on this delight:

Why yes, this is a denim romper with molded cups. So good of you to notice!

The one thing - ONE THING - this does have going for it is that the waist is clearly defined, unlike on most other rompers. The corseted top actually does give it a shape that's not unflattering, per se. But it has those damn molded cups, and you know how I loathe them. There's no way for molded cups not to look cheap. This romper is what Daisy Duke would wear in the CW remake of The Dukes of Hazzard. Which, again I would totally watch because it would probably involve Bo and Luke being estranged cousins who are competing for the spots on the high school football team, and Daisy would be their next door neighbor who they're also competing for.

Anyway, this introduces a new feature I'll be adding to this blog - the clothes in real life. I'm occasionally going to go out to the stores and try the clothes on, to show how horrifying they look on a real person. In this case, here is Intrepid Field Reporter Melissa modeling the Vintage Cupped Denim Playsuit:

In her words - "This is an actual outfit available for purchase at Top Shop. Try to keep your tongues off the floor, gentlemen!"

Indeed, Melissa. Indeed.

Topshop Vintage Cupped Denim Playsuit - $90

Magic Eye

Looking at these skirts and tops, I can't help but feel like Ethan Suplee's character from Mallrats. I just keep staring at them, but I can't see the damn sailboat.

I'm pretty sure that first skirt was used in the poster for The Mothman Prophecies.

Man, the ways in which these patterns would be unflattering ... I can't even begin to explain. But yeah, there is no way that any of these would work on me. And, frankly, I wouldn't want to. If a guy is going to unblinkingly be staring at me in a mall, I don't want it to be because he's trying to see a hidden image on my dress. I want it to be because either a) I'm smoking hot, or b) I've just insulted him so deftly that he doesn't even know what's happened.

Topshop X-Ray Print Bodycon Skirt - $50

Topshop Cosmic Ruch Waist Skirt - $50

Topshop Cosmic Bodycon Vest - $50

Topshop Premium Spirograph Tunic Vest - $55

Deep Pockets

Linen shorts. They sound so breezy and lightweight, so tropical. Unfortunately, when going to the beach you always end up having to lug around a huge tote bag that doesn't work with your otherwise breezy, tropical outfit.

But with shorts like these, you can skip carrying a bag entirely. You can just roll up your beach towel and stuff it in one of your pockets, along with sunblock, a trashy novel, sunglasses, a large hat, and maybe some tropical fruit.

From this angle, it even looks like the pockets provide a sheath for your umbrella.

Of course, it's all just an optical illusion - according to the website, these shorts have a "unique faux pocket design." So, in fact, you're stuck carrying the tote bag while wearing shorts that only make you look like you could double as a pack mule.

You want to know how these shorts make me feel?

And no, I totally wasn't just waiting for an excuse to use this t-shirt. It directly relates to the post. But if you want to buy it for me in a medium, I won't object.

ModCloth Treasure Island Shorts - $37.99
ModCloth Shark AHHHtack Tee - $29.99

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bodysuit Up ...

... is something I hope I never hear Barney Stinson say.*

And in the event that he does, I hope he's not referencing either of these:

I did gymnastics for several years, and bodysuits give me flashbacks to accidentally getting chalk in my eyes after coating my hands in chalk like one breads a chicken breast before frying. Good times, those were, until wrist injuries and the onset of puberty ruined my potentially epic gymnastics career. And yes, it was potentially epic because I never progressed far enough along to have my hopes and dreams dashed by reality. So as far as we're all concerned here, it could have been epic.


I kind of understand the purpose of bodysuits. What I don't understand is why there would be a demand for early-90s floral prints. I owned skirts with those patterns on them back in the day, but the antique floral print doesn't need to experience a renaissance. At least, not for me - never mind that a bodysuit would make me look even heavier than I already am. But in florals, it'd just look downright ridiculous. I feel that print should be accompanied by the smell of tuberose and Vick's Vapor Rub. There's no way for me not to feel 74 while wearing that print. A remarkably hip 74, on my way to jazzercise classes at the home, but still, geriatric.

*If you're not watching "How I Met Your Mother," you should be. Borrow the season 1 DVDs from me some time.

Topshop Antique Floral Bodysuit - $40

Topshop Antique Floral Vest Bodysuit - $40

It Came From the Clothing Chain!

Apparently the sassy model from the one-sleeved mesh dress has figured out that you can't sell an unfortunate dress, no matter how hard you emote.

Instead, she tilts her head slightly, as if to acknowledge that yes, this dress may very well have been formal wear for an alien in the original Star Trek. The "leatherette" bands are fairly extraneous with our gravitational field, but maybe on a foreign planet they help to keep random alien parts from slipping out.

Oh god - she's not showing a degree of deference with her head tilt. She's powering down.

As is evidenced by the exposed spine, this model is clearly a cyborg.

Bebe Sexy Stretch Twill Cutout Dress - $129

Waist Not, Want Not

I love it when bad puns make for such succinct titles.

Hey, you know what these are? $75 polyester high waist shorts. I'm guessing the inseam is about 3 inches long; that leaves a whole 15.75 inches of high waist. This would leave the high waist resting somewhere along my bra line, as though I'm starring as Urkelle in a CW "reimagining" of Family Matters.

Seriously - you know that if it were on the CW, even Urkelle's wardrobe would be ridiculously expensive and vaguely on-trend. Also, someone would probably end up dead by the first episode, there would be a mysterious new boy in school, and everyone would look like they're 27 - both kids and parents.

Don't lie. You know you'd watch that show.

ModCloth My Way or the High Waist Shorts - $74.99

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't Be Taken In By His Welcome Grin

I was originally going to dub this a costume idea, but it's just too obvious. Especially since, if you're going to go in the crocodile costume vein, you should always go with this:

So, when would this dress be appropriate?

I'm thinking, if you're going to the zoo and you want to cause some trouble.

Topshop Crocodile Print Dress by Christopher Kane - $125

Costume Ideas #5 - And the Band Begins to Play

This is one of those cases where something reminded me of another article of clothing, and despite my furious searching, I've had to accept that it was just one of those weird mental links.

This dress made me think of Yellow Submarine (the Beatles' cartoon). I don't think anyone - John, Paul, Ringo, George, or any of the Blue Meanies - wore a flag team dress. And yet, my first thought was, "This was in 'Yellow Submarine.'"

The website claims that, "the overall look is pulled together with a contrast ribbed binding," which I would argue is kind of a damned lie, since there's no way this look ends up being pulled together. "Thrown together in Home Ec," yes. "Pulled together," not so much.

The thing is, I don't hate this dress. I really like the shape of the skirt and the torso. It's not even the overall detailing - even if they kept the button placket on, I would like it. But I don't like the gold military design, partly because it would look weird on me and partly because I think it looks crazy cheap. It makes the dress cross over into why it falls into Halloween Costume territory - it looks like what you'd buy from Aahs! to wear if you and some friends wanted to dress up as band geeks. Not slutty band geeks. Just plain old boring band geeks.

Forever 21 Military Sweater Dress - $34

Those Four Little Words

In the scheme of words that don't need to be included in the same description, I'd put "patent," "leather," "reptile," and "shorts" are at the top of the list.

And yet?

Arden B. has bravely defied conventional wisdom and created a pair of shorts that combine all the greatest aspects of each of those words. Yes, these shorts truly embody everything that one may expect from the words "patent," "leather," "reptile," and "shorts." So for that, I applaud them, and so should you.

Thank you, Arden B, for taking a stand and creating a pair of shorts that would otherwise only have been seen on hookers in a Pretty Woman remake. Thank you.

Arden B. Patent Leather Reptile Shorts - $48

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gucci Flats - really?

Let's be clear: I love needlessly expensive shoes. Love. There is an executive in my office who owns many, many pairs of Louboutins, and I'm pretty sure she's creeped out by my constantly staring at her feet as she walks by. But her shoe wardrobe is amazing.

So I'm not criticizing these shoes for being expensive.

I'm criticizing them for being the high-end equivalent of an Ed Hardy shirt. Tattoo designs? Really, Gucci? You think that these strips of leather with a few painted-on roses and hearts are worth paying almost $500 for? Because I'm thinking this same look can be achieved by a pair of Capezios, 75 cents, and a trip to the local bowling alley for the temp tattoo dispensers. Hell, add an extra 25 cents for a gumball.

Gucci Tan Leather Tattoo Heart Flats - $392

The Forest for the Trees

I don't really know what to say about this top, but I feel like it needs to be posted.

Sassy model seems to really be enjoying this top. I can't even criticize it, really, because she just seems to love wearing it so much. I don't know what occasion one would wear this to - from her accessories and shiny leggings, I'm guessing some sort of eco-clubbing thing? I don't know. I just keep staring at the top, repeating basic observable facts about it to myself, like: "It's blue. It has one sleeve. There are trees on it. It has satin banding." Beyond that, I can't figure out what to say about it, because it's so literal.

This isn't a pattern of small trees all over the thing. It's not an abstract tree winding its way up her torso. This is, very simply, a picture of trees on a shirt with one sleeve. It is remarkably literal.

I don't know why this exists. I don't know who wears it. But if you know someone who does, or who would, please tell me. I have so many questions for them.

Bebe Enchanted Forest Tunic - $89

Forever 21 Did This on Purpose

It's like Forever 21 actively wants to be featured on this site. Which, given that they friended me on Twitter (probably because they do keyword searches for their names, the vain bastards), it could be the case.

This is not something I would ever wear. I hate those built-in bra cups. Hate them. They make me think of eyelids, and I don't want my breasts to be able to blink. They should be unblinking. That's what I like about them.

The top finishes in yet another style I hate: the bubble hem. That's right. A bubble hem that ends at a voluminous skirt. Because that's a great look for anybody other than Barbie Thighs the Model.

I'd keep the belt, though. So the dress isn't a total wash, right?

What? It's the Jewish New Year, I'm trying to be a little kinder and find something good in everyone.

Ooh, and for those of you who are dying for those denim dresses from the first post,, they're on sale!

Forever 21 Denim and Plaid Dress - $39
Forever 21 X-Posed Denim Dress - $9.99
Forever 21 Denim Jumper Dress - $11.99

Hey, Buttons are Tricky

They didn't have to design a shirt to look like I accidentally skipped a button. I already do it all the time.

And yes, that is a corseted back. I don't really know what to say about it, beyond asking if it's really necessary. But, given that this is Bebe - yes, yes it is.

Bebe Laced Back Asymmetric Shirt - $79

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Brightest Outfit in the Box

These two pieces create such a remarkably loud outfit, I had to post them.

Could the green top be tempered by a pair of dark jeans? Yes. Could the hot pink leggings work in a vaguely Clarissa Explains It All kind of way? Yes. But where's the fun in that? Pair these with these (not hideous) ankle booties, and you're good to go.

Arden B. Ruffle Front Keyhole Top - $38
Forever 21 Paint Splatter Leggings - $9.80
Forever 21 Heeled Ankle Booties - $27.80

Advice from a Caterpillar

In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice gets advice from a caterpillar smoking a hookah.

If Alice had taken a hit off of that and then designed a romper for the caterpillar to wear on a night out, this is what she would have created, complete with panels allowing for the caterpillar's body segmentation.

It's unfortunate, given that I would have loved to see this fabric in a skirt.

ModCloth Van Gogh Romper - $23.99

Costume Ideas #4 - Cheap Sheena

For some reason, whenever I picture the Real Housewives of New Jersey dressed in Halloween costumes, I imagine them all dressed as kittens - black skintight jumpsuits, big teased hair, and a tail pinned on. Modeling this look is Teresa Giudice:

(thanks to MS Paint - sorry for the Perez-level quality)

Not that I normally picture - or edit pictures of - the Real Housewives in Halloween costumes. In fact, the only reason the mental image popped into my head was because I saw this dress.

If they get tired of dressing like their mafia husband's kitty, they can go as Sheena, Queen of Jersey.

Arden B. Shirred Animal Print Twist Strap Dress - $39.99 Funky Cat Costume - $33.95

Monday, September 21, 2009

Keep It in the Bottle. Please.

Three wishes?


1. I wish this jumpsuit didn't make the model's breasts look so unhappy.

2. I wish this jumpsuit gave her an actual waist.

3. I wish they hadn't used the curtain ties as a belt.

Dammit! I should have looked at the back before making all those wishes. If I had, I would have replaced #3 with:

"I wish the model would spontaneously start dancing to Can't Touch This."

Bebe Glitter Halter Rope Jumpsuit - $98

Really, Topshop?

I recently started surfing the Topshop site, thanks to intrepid field reporter Melissa (who will be featured in a later post for her intrepid field reporting). The first day I started looking through the site, I was delighted: it was the perfect mix of awful clothing and amazing clothing, so I didn't feel like it was too easy a target. But as I flipped through the different tabs I had opened, I had to check the url to make sure this dress did in fact come from Topshop and not Forever21.

Come on, Topshop. We both know you're better than this. Even your ugliest offerings don't look flat-out cheap. This is what that one girl with the cheap fake hair and frosted lip gloss wears to junior prom, before she gets totally wasted on schnapps and throws up in the limo.

I even surfed through the Forever 21 site, just to make sure that there wasn't anything similar. I checked Charlotte Russe, Arden B - all my go-tos for tacky evening wear, and nothing.

The fabric looks cheap, the cut looks cheap, the wearer will look cheap. It's not hideous, it's not a train wreck like some of the other dresses I've posted. It's just ... cheap. Which, if that's the look you're going for, power to you. I just think you can achieve it for less than $80.

And they don't even sell the matching stripper shoes to make an outfit out of it.

Topshop Gold Panel Bodycon Dress - $80

The Iridescent Striped Suit

Look who's back: our old friend, the sassy model.

Yes, that is a matching vest and striped skirt suit she's wearing. Don't act like you've never seen one before.

I like that the skirt has not one, not two, but four tiers, using two different fabrics. It really ties the whole look together, echoing the texture contrasts on the vest. I also like that the vest cuts away at the bottom, in case you want to reveal your finer navel rings or hip tattoos.

I'm pretty sure this is what strippers consider business wear.

Bebe Iridescent Striped Vest - $98
Bebe Iridescent Striped Pleated Skirt - $98

Friday, September 18, 2009

If You're Happy and You Know It

You can thank my friend Little Emily for this one. She took a break from studying to find this mess.

One of my big issues with clothes is that I have to pay close attention to the bust line. If I'm not careful, my chest will stretch out the designs of the shirt or dress, making it look really weird. And, often, the pattern ends up giving my boobs some sort of anthropomorphic look.

In this case, my breasts won't need the help. Even with a small-chested model, the arcing white and black stripes give the appearance of eyebrows, making her breasts seem moderately amused. I don't know why, but paired with the big black bow, the dress makes me think of an anime character.

It should also be noted that this dress has vertical pleats, pockets, and a gathered banded hem. So, basically, it's designed to flare out as much as possible around your hips and thighs before constricting again around your legs. Yeah, there's no way this could possibly be unflattering.

Forever 21 Belted Sweater Dress - $34

Close Encounters of the Skirt Kind

Sometimes, fashion isn't just about clothing. It's about the message.

With that in mind, what do you think the designers at Unique, a line carried by Topshop, are trying to tell us?

It could just be that they bought more of the UFO-patterned fabric than they needed, so they had to get creative.

But think about it: who would buy this much fabric thinking there would be a demand for UFO-patterned skirts? No, the more likely answer is, they're trying to tell us something. They're trying to warn us about an impending alien invasion.

If only they could give us some hint as to where they'll be attacking. Then we could know how best to fortify against them ...

Thank you, Unique. You've done mankind a great service. Now quickly, someone call Captain Steve Hiller. We've got some aliens for him to punch.

Topshop Flying Saucers Dress - $160
Topshop Stretch Skirt by Unique - $100
Topshop Spacesuit Jumper by Unique - $135
Topshop Parliament Print T by Unique - $90