13

My Husband Hates Leopard Print

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Many years ago, my husband and I were at the Vintage Fashion Expo, and while there I thought I would get the “perfect” leopard print coat. You know, that vintage leopard print coat every woman should have in her wardrobe. As I pulled out a leopard print coat which I thought would be the “one” my husband put his hand on my arm, and said, “Nooooooooo. Not that coat.”

Not that coat? Was it too long? Did it look like an old stuffed animal? Did is smell funny? I asked him why, and he said it was tacky. Why was it tacky? He replied, “I don’t like leopard prints, they’re cheesy.”

“As far as I’m concerned, leopard is a neutral.” ~Jenna Lyons

Don’t like leopard prints? That’s crazy! They’re a classic print that has the spunk of a trendy print. They’re fun, a little gaudy, yes, but one of those prints you can pair with all shades of colors. As, Jenna Lyons says, “As far as I’m concerned, leopard is a neutral.”

Once upon a time leopard was considered a luxury, well, because the only way to get it was to kill a leopard. Poor guy. Even up to the mid-20th century, owning leopard and cheetah was a luxury… my grandmother had a cheetah fur coat. Not a cheetah print coat. A coat made out of a real, once living cheetah. So basically, I had a grandparent who couldn’t understand the problem in wearing endangered species.

“But to wear leopard print, you must have the kind of femininity which is a little bit sophisticated.” ~Christian Dior

In 1947, Christian Dior came out with the first leopard print dresses for day and night. Even back then, he didn’t think the print was for everyone, saying,  “But to wear leopard print, you must have the kind of femininity which is a little bit sophisticated. If you are fair and sweet, don’t wear it.” I’m going to have to take the interpretation of “a little bit sophisticated” a lot bit liberally. Audrey Lou, who is a product designer, says of the print, “Maybe when I’m older.” Perhaps, sophistication is really what’s needed to carry it off?

Earlier this year, Elizabeth Hurley came out with a swimwear line for girls, in, you guessed it leopard print. Which caused a major uproar among parents feeling that animal print swimwear sexualized children. Is leopard is too sexy and exotic for children? These days does when the creative director of arguably America’s most wholesome retailer, J.Crew, declares it a neutral?

Sexy, exotic, tacky, classic, neutral… it seems that leopard print is the most polarizing of all the prints. Do people get so riled up over stripes? And perhaps the polarization of the print is really what keeps from getting too popular.   Musician, Paul Flemming said, “An old reliable classic in my opinion. Never gets so popular as to get overused, never goes entirely out of style either.” Since not everyone can wear it, but it doesn’t alienate any particular demographics, leopard keeps coming back season after season.

I thought back in 1998 leopard print would go out of fashion any minute. It still has not.

Grechen Harnick, assistant Professor at Parsons, says, “David Wolfe from Doneger was a guest speaker in my class today. He said he thinks leopard is brilliant because of two reasons: 1. it can be expensive and glamorous and 2. it can be cheap and tawdry. It hits all markets and honestly sometimes we all want to be glamorous and tawdry at the same time!”

“[Leopard print] hits all markets and honestly sometimes we all want to be glamorous and tawdry at the same time!” ~David Wolfe

Which brings me to the final thoughts about leopard print. Women often get pigeon holed into categories, the whole Jackie/Marilyn, Madonna/Whore thing. Leopard is truly a dynamic print that really delves into many different connotations, and addresses various parts of the female persona. While leopard can be considered tacky, or expensive it still is both. Which I believe is how most of us are.

So do I wear leopard prints even though my husband hates them? You betcha. After all, he still has that collection of Members Only jackets that I completely despise.

What do you think about leopard prints?

And yes, I know the photo of Peg Bundy features a cheetah print. That can be a different post!

jennineMy Husband Hates Leopard Print
11

7 Fashion Icons & Their Uniforms

In the fashion industry, where wearing the same thing twice is a major faux pas some of the most iconic fashion elite have gone the way of wearing their own uniform.

Uniforms: they represent sameness, belonging to a greater whole. Yet, the people who have created their own uniform and committed to it are some of the most colorful and eccentric people. Steve Jobs had his hundred Issey Miyake turtlenecks. I had heard somewhere that Hillary Clinton wore pantsuits during her 2008 campaign so people would stop asking what she was wearing and listen to what she was saying.

In the fashion industry, where wearing the same thing twice is a major faux pas some of the most iconic fashion elite have gone the way of wearing their own uniform. What does that say about the rat race of trends? If the creators and documenters of fashion do not indulge in the whims themselves are they the Sam Malone (the sober bartender on Cheers) of trends… or are they just creating as many options possible and telling us to grab onto what works for to create our own iconic looks?

I’m not really sure, but it’s certainly food for thought. Here are some of the most obvious and most creative fashion icons:

Karl Lagerfeld:

karllagerfeld_uniform2

Karl has wears Dior jackets. Actually they are two different kinds. So it just looks like he’s wearing the same thing every day. In Harper’s Bazar, he detailed his uniform:

“My latest uniform is actually two looks—a special jacket with tails made by Dior, but not what you wear for weddings. I have them made in tweed and things like this. Then I have another jacket I love from the new Dior men’s collection that I bought five of, so people think I wear the same thing every day, but in fact it’s never the same thing. And then I wear jeans…”

I never thought of Karl being a denim lover.

 

Diane Pernet

dianepernet_uniform2

Diane Pernet, fashion editor, blogger of A Shaded View on Fashion and Film Festival  has had a long and rich career in fashion. She has quite the signature look with her long black dress, veil, cat-eye sunglasses and amazingly high hair. In SOMA magazine she put it most eloquently the reason for her uniform:

“I suppose it started when I was a fashion designer for my own brand for thirteen  years. I took the decision to wear black in the same way that Givenchy or Maison Martin Margiela took to white lab coats. By dressing in a uniform you do not compete with what you create. I stopped designing long ago but kept to the uniform. It evolves with time but basically has become my signature.”

 

 

Alexander Wang

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By far, the youngest person on this list… Alexander Wang at the ripe old age of 30, has already coined his signature look. The ultimate casual black (or white tee shirt) jeans and sneakers. It’s amazing how simple and bared down his uniform is considering how innovative his work is for his own lines and for Balenciaga.

Isabella Blow

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If you could call a hat a uniform, Isabella Blow would be the Queen of Uniforms. She herself convinced she was “ugly” used hats to overcompensate for her insecurities.  Most always wearing a Philip Treacy, she was the most fearless of the fashion elite, wearing the most avant guarde hats, even Lady Gaga can only imitate.

“Fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain,” Blow once said. “That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me.” ~Quote via Fast Company

Tom Ford

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Quite possibly the sexiest man alive, newlywed designer, Tom Ford  is one of the most innovative designers today. His collections are year after year, sexy, tasteful, classic and yet never boring. He himself is almost always wearing black and white, his own designs, and always crisp and clean…

 

“I hate when people say, ‘Oh, you’ll have that for 20 years,’” Tom Ford told Details. “Even if I’m wearing a blue cashmere sweater 20 years from now, I want it to be a fresh, new one.” 

Grace Coddington

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Yet another fashion uniform of black and white… is there a theme here? Perhaps so… it seems the fashion uniforms can be quite monastic. Maybe there is a fashion religious order? Who knows. Well, if there were a fashion bible, Vogue would be it. Grace Coddington would be Mother Superior (maybe Anna would be the Pope?) Anyway, aside from a few time where she strayed in blue Celine, she’s pretty much stayed true to her black and white.

 Bill Cunningham

© Noa Griffel 2011

If anyone were to actually be a monk, it would be Bill Cunningham. In the Bill Cunningham documentary you get a glimpse into his life. Living among file cabinets and a few wire hangars to hold his blue French workman’s jacket. While  he’ll sometimes wear a blue sweater, or a blue coat with his khakis, he always, always wears this combination as he pedals the streets of New York on his bike.

 

 

 

jennine7 Fashion Icons & Their Uniforms

Links à la Mode

lalam0417

What Makes You Beautiful?

They say “Beauty comes from within,” but then, why are we constantly trying to perfect our outsides? Beauty issues have been making waves on the internet the past few weeks. What makes us beautiful? What is beautiful? Well, those are some pretty heavy questions and perhaps the answer cliche as it is, you know, coming from within… That “within” also encompasses self-care and self love. This week we have some wonderful beauty posts, along with posts that share the love.

 

Links à la Mode: April 17th

SPONSOR: Born Free miss june, Steven AlanSauvat, Eastdane, ChalkRaleigh JeansPeixoto, Beth Richards, MCM handbagsGazinskaya, Gant Rugger & Deadly Ponies

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jennineLinks à la Mode
18

Motherhood…World’s Toughest Job?

Viral video hits the internet. 24 people apply for the “World’s Toughest Job” and had their minds blown. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. The interviewer asks the candidates questions revealing the job’s requirements…

List via AdWeek

  • Standing up almost all the time
  • Constantly exerting yourself
  • Working from 135 to unlimited hours per week
  • Degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts necessary
  • No vacations
  • The work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and other holidays
  • No time to sleep
  • Salary = $0

Now, the candidates were confused, thought the requirements were “cruel,” a “sick twisted joke,” and possibly illegal, but when they found out that billions of people have this “job,” they were overcome with gratitude.

Because the “job” description is that of a mom.

The viral video, made to sell Mother’s Day cards, missed the mark on what sacrifices women make when they become mothers. For instance, the damage to a career from leaving the workforce, how mothers earn even less money than childless women for the same work,  how since 2000, the cost of childcare has increased twice as fast as median incomes, how parents need more support while their babies are young (Canadians get up to 52 weeks maternity leave as opposed to 12 weeks stateside), how single women sometimes have to work multiple jobs to care for their families, and to top it off, how women still do most of the housework. There are certainly issues at hand that make being a parent difficult today. It’s not easy, especially if  parents do not have the resources to make things easier. But do the issues that make things difficult for parents equate to the the actual parenting?

Now, I am a mom, and I’ve had lots of jobs. I’ve been a strawberry picker, a dishwasher, a retail sales associate, a fast-food worker, a cigarette girl,  one of those people who passes out fliers on the street, a hostess, a barista, briefly a waitress and a bartender, a nanny, a babysitter, a daycare worker, a real estate agent’s assistant,  a teacher’s assistant, an English as a foreign language teacher, a receptionist, an office manager, a graphic designer and a blogger.

From that experience, I can tell you, that:

  • Standing up all the time? I had to stand for 8 hour shifts while working at Wendy’s, Starbucks and the Gap, and as a mom I have never once stood for any prolonged amount of time.
  • Constantly exerting yourself? That’s a demand for everyone, child or no child.
  • Degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts? Um, no. Unless you count kind of knowing how to operate the microwave a degree in Culinary Arts.
  • The work load goes up for the holidays? I’ve worked on the holidays and in seasonal industries, it was nothing like the fun of making things festive for the little guy
  • No time to sleep? I haven’t slept an 8 hour stretch in about a year. Still 100% less stressful than say, organizing the IFB Conference.
  • Working from 135 hours to “unlimited?” There are 168 hours in a week. Any more hours would be more than one week.

I can also tell you that:

While there there are a lot of aspects of parenthood that are undervalued. Being a parent is the greatest experience I’ve had in my life. Heck, I get to hang out with this guy all day:

For me, being a parent is a privilege and gift of the most absolute love I’ve ever felt. While I’m very fortunate to have a loving husband and the resources to be able to work at home and spend time with my son. Maybe I just have an easy baby. I do not feel like actual motherhood part is this grueling battle that I have to face every day.  Even when I’m changing the poopiest of diapers, motherhood is certainly not like the work I have done for money, even the jobs I love (like blogging).

All I’m saying is don’t confuse the act of mothering with the issues that make being a parent in today’s world difficult.

jennineMotherhood…World’s Toughest Job?
6

Most Days I Wear…

Proenza_31_phillip_lim_hm_super_sunglasses

Shop this look!

 

Most days I just throw on a button down and a pair of pants. I’ll wear heels most days (although most days 3″ heels tops). And a nice bag. Even to go to the super market. I’m the overdressed one at the baby singing class. Who am I trying to impress? That’s a good question.

I suppose that having a personal style blog with just pants and button downs would be boring. Which was part of my issue with bringing back this blog. I’ve been working developing my style which is a lot more boring than it sounds. It’s not about indulging in every whim that passes by, it’s more about selecting the pieces and wearing them in a way that iconically true. Figuring out the types of clothes that I continually wear and feel confident in hasn’t been the easiest, because I rarely feel confident. But I’ve been finding that indulging in timeless and simple is a lot easier to feel good in.

So here, in this outfit I’ve gone with a high-waisted cropped trouser which has a very vintage feel to them. The blouse, I picked up at H&M because while I wear a lot of denim, this particular blue, while hot this season, seems a bit officey. How do you wear it in a way that doesn’t seem so buttoned up? Try tying it at the waist. That’s my solution since I’m so bad at tucking in my shirts!

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Oh and here are the Proenza Schouler shoes I bought off TheRealReal… they’re very high and very naked feeling. Definitely a pair of shoes you have to get a pedicure before wearing.

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Wearing: Sunglasses: Super • Blouse: H&M • Trousers: 3.1 Philip Lim • Sandals: Proenza Schouler • Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim (gift from Saks Fifth Avenue).

What do you wear most days?

 

jennineMost Days I Wear…
16

Why Do You Wear Makeup?

contouring

Over the weekend I joked what life would be like without makeup…

Of course, I leave the house all the time without makeup. People ask, “What happened?” most of those times. But whatevs. I could chalk that up to getting older, but they asked, “What happened?” in my teens as well. What do I look like without makeup? This:

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That’s me in the morning, sometime after my first cup of coffee and before my morning shower. So there you have it. An unfiltered, non-photoshopped 39-year-old me, pores and all.

I’m confused when it comes to makeup. On one hand I want to say, “Accept yourself the way you are!” And with the other hand, I’m Googling Fraxel laser treatment and researching if tattooed eyebrows can ever look natural (because I HATE when my brow pencil smudges or wears away). Part of me hates the endless spiral of fixes my insecurities throw me on. The other part of me knows that without my superficial insecurities I would have to obsesses over something other than shoes and makeup, and  and perhaps shoes and makeup are easier to look at than fixes for some of my deeper, less visible flaws.

 In my mind I thought ‘if only I could be like someone else,’ but in that desire, I failed to see the gifts I had to offer. Sure there are lots of tricks I can use to look ‘beautiful’, like wearing nice clothes, styling my hair, wearing makeup, and exercising, but those are all just extras.  I’ve tried them all to feel beautiful, and they help,  but it’s a slippery slope, because no matter how many shoes you have, not one of them is going to fix what’s going on in your mind. Believe me, I have tried, and tried. ~Everyone Is Beautiful, The Coveted 2009

In the last five years, I’d like to say I’ve grown. That I obsess less about superficial crap. But I don’t. I still get that feeling of hope every time I buy a new beauty product:

“Will THIS mascara give me beautiful lashes?”

“Will THIS primer erase my pores?”

Because you know, once I’m beautiful, then people will like me.

This idea of beauty=happiness cuts down to the core of many insecurities. So much so, when Elsy Anthonijsz aka Glam_Her_Booth posted  her contouring tutorials on Instagram, it made waves on the internet.  Who needs plastic surgery and photoshop now that we have contouring? Look at what contouring can do… it can make a plain girl into a knockout!

Even Into the Gloss, has now become Into the Foundation with all their contouring tutorials and “instant nose jobs.” It’s pretty apparent that many of us would love to look like someone else.

This week, the Man RepellerLeandra Medine talked about why she didn’t wear makeup in response to a man who had called her ugly. She discussed in her eloquent post, not the political nature of makeup, but the underlying reasoning we feel the need for it. Feeling comfortable in one’s skin. Coming to terms with one’s looks, something that she has done… which is wonderful, as at her age I was so far from even thinking about coming to terms with my own looks. Then again, at her age (and even my age) I was far from many things she has been able to accomplish.

Makeup doesn’t make a person more beautiful any more than it makes a person feel like they can make a difference with themselves. I feel part of my makeup wearing is rooted in feeling like I have some kind of control over what I look like. That a tiny bottle can stop time, or a pencil can give me Brooke Shields brows. I can choose my looks, not the DNA that was given to me. Maybe my transformation isn’t so much like the girl in the Glam_Her_Booth, nor is it in my attitude like the Man Repeller. It’s somewhere in between. Makeup makes me feel like I can make myself beautiful.

Maybe that feeling of being able to change… maybe that’s all we really need.

 Why do you wear makeup? And if not, why?

jennineWhy Do You Wear Makeup?
6

The Real Deal I Scored on TheRealReal

proenza_schouler_aw11_shoes_black

Do you know the real reason I started The Coveted back again? Well.. it was because when I look at shoes (and clothes and jewelry and accessories and beauty products) on the internet all the time. All. The. Time. Shoes I can afford, shoes I can’t. A lot of shoes I can’t.

I had heard that one of the boutique owners I interviewed on The Coveted long ago had moved on to TheRealReal. After initially checking it out, it had become one of the stops I obsessively check out when I’m cruising the ‘net. As it’s a consignment shop with all the benefits of online luxury shopping. Clean photos, flash sales, curated shopping experiences… and also, I noticed a lot of the prices are really good. Sometimes consignment isn’t always a good deal (especially when you can find the same/cheaper price/more current collections  at end of season sales) but TheRealReal actually seems to be really amazing with it’s price points. Luxury goods at high street prices. You just have to be a bit creative and knowledgeable in what you are looking for.

There was this pair of Proenza Schouler strappy sandals from their AW11 collection, the one collection that I happened to be able to see on the runway (ok, the only time I tried to get into)… also, one of my favorite collections of the duo. Anyway, I’ve wanted to buy Proenza Schouler shoes for years, and years but it just never worked out. Too high of a heel, too expensive, too much an object ‘art, but I happened to be in the market for a pair of minimally stappy heels, and when I found these heels pictured above on TheRealReal for $125, I decided to go for it. Luckily, since I live in San Francisco, where they are head quartered, the “ground shipping” was more like overnight shipping and I got them the next day.

I’m so in love with these shoes… and can’t wait to wear them. Will have to think of a fancy thing to do where strappy heels are necessary. After all, isn’t that why we love fashion? It forces us to live fancier lives? Just a thought.

Anyway… it was a looong time ago that I posted the Proenza Schoulder AW11 runway show, apparently even back then I was smitten with the shoes:

ps17 ps4 ps3    

jennineThe Real Deal I Scored on TheRealReal