Some Brightness on a Dreary Day

I had honestly hoped to be posting photos of all my cute spring outfits by now. But here we are on the last day of March with rain and even snow in the New York City forecast! I’m bereft, I’m over it, and I’m dreaming of sundresses. Until the day comes, though, here is a bit of bright and fun inspiration.

As you know by now, this bleek, depressing weather makes Jensy so very sad. I find the only way to perk things up is to go all-out with bright colors, fun accessories, and anything that makes you beam. This week’s photos (and again, I know I’ve been lacking in the weekly photos) are of my newest fashion/beauty icon, Miss Nicki Minaj. It’s not just that we share the same best asset. I admire Nicki for her screw-convention, turn-heads, vaguely psychotic approach to fashion, men, and the whole crazy industry of which she is part. It seems to me that beneath all that bubble-gum pink pleather, there’s a whole lot of class and smarts to boot. And that giant, grateful smile she always wears is the very best part. Cheers to you, Nicki Minaj. You and your bad-ass outfits. Oh, and your bad-ass hair, too.

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Katy, You’re a Firework…

Celebrity beauty product lines always give me the creeps. I don’t care if it’s Kim Kardashian or Sean Combs–no matter what you’re famous for, I don’t think you should be putting out a fragrance unless there is a real reason. Like… you are a descendent of one of the great noses and you have a keen understanding of the business, have traveled the world researching ingredients, and your perfume is actually going to make an impact on the industry. Clearly, very few singers/actors/models can say any of the above is true of themselves. Putting out a fragrance, or a lipstick, or whatever random cosmetic initiative it is, tends to be simply one more way for “celebs” to rake in dough off slapping their name onto a product. (Sarah Jessica Parker, I understand, can be excused from the above generalization as she actually did the proper work to put out a product worth standing behind–even if the scent itself is eh).

For the most part, if there is a celebrity name attached to any cosmetic product, I won’t go near it. The same can’t be said for clothing and accessories (under the right circumstances!) but that is a topic for another post, on another day. However, when my friend Christie recently posted on her Facebook wall that she couldn’t get enough of OPI’s new polishes by Katy Perry, I was intrigued.

I googled the line and found a refreshingly adorable collection of colors. Named after Katy’s catchy hits from the past year, each one packs major girl-power punch. From the iridescent, silvery, salmony pink of “Teenage Dream” to the mellow, opalescent mint green of “Not Like the Movies.” A friend who’s bought all of them reports that “the crackle sucks.” That would be the black shellac that can be applied over any of the shades to create a fun pattern. But, I’m happy to skip the crackle anyway (who needs chipped chunks of black polish obscuring the view to her lovely shimmering nails?) and just go for the colors. For whatever reason, this is one instance where the celeb cosmetics line gets away with being downright cute and fun. Here are the colors–get them before summer hits and metallics give way to flourescents!

My Love Affair With Elizabeth Taylor

I know I wasn’t the only little girl in pearls who grew up loving Elizabeth Taylor. The dark hair, the shocking blue-violet eyes, the voluptuous figure that actually looked like it belonged to a woman, not a starved preteen. The glamour, the eccentric nature, the jewels. I devoured every page of her famed book, “My Love Affair With Jewelry,” wanting nothing more than to grow up to become as chic, as beautiful, as bedazzled, as the inimitible Ms Taylor. Tough luck, Jensy.

I don’t possess the esteemed knowledge or multitude of facts that her many internet and print biographers in the coming days surely will, nor do I feel that being merely a fan entitles me to say much on her passing. But I will say that this girl is very sad today at having lost a personal hero–an icon of beauty, style, and class. I’d like to share a few of my personal favorite photos with you. May the lady live on in our glamorous little hearts forever. Rest in Peace, Liz Taylor.

Flaunting the Krupp diamond (33 Karats!) 1968



The BODY.
Book Cover: My Love Affair With Jewelry



Accepting one of her two Academy Awards



Lost & Found: The Story of a Little Black Dress

A few years ago I bought a dress. It was a black, Victorian-esque collared, button front mini-dress with half sleeves and a sash. Its cotton voile was of my favorite, stiff, almost-linen (without the wrinkle of linen) and it had a glorious dual ruffle effect from collar to hem. It was my favorite dress for several months, and I wore it from Indian Summer (bare legs, Ferragamo flats) through one tough winter (thick Wolford tights, long wool cardigan, Frye boots with wool socks underneath), and into that following spring (bare legs again, Ferragamo flats again). It was chic, it was seasonless, and it was $39. At Target.

Then something bad happened. I won’t name names, but someone in my life misplaced the dress, accidentally giving it (and some other fab items) away in a bag of clothes intended for dry cleaning–that instead went to charity. Now, I am all for giving away glorious clothing. But your very favorite, adaptable little dress? That was available for a mere four weeks and is completely un-findable at this point? That you still wear lovingly all the time? Sad. Very, very sad. And a little pissed, to be honest.

I had long since gotten over the loss of this dress. It was, after all, merely an article of clothing. But every once in a while there would be a moment, or an entire morning, spent wishing I had it to wear for the ocassion at hand. And then, a small miracle occurred. A commercial came on that stopped me in my tracks. Aren’t we all really attracted to Target commercials? They use great music, images of happy babies, sexy couples, attactive older people, and delicious little kids romping around using super-cute products and wearing great clothes. You always know it’s a Target commercial from the first second because you actually want to watch it, not mute it and leave the room to grab a soda.

Anyway, this particular one brought some news so thrilling, so unexpected, that I nearly dropped my soda on the floor. Target GO International bringing back former items? Every dress you’ve loved from the limited edition high-end designer collaborations available once more? No need to drive 45 minutes to Jersey or Long Island to find said pieces–because it’s all up on the website?

I jumped, I clicked, and I scrolled… and I found my little dress. Alice Temperley for Target. Original glory available in my size and at the same price I paid for it a few years ago. This happy camper suggests that, even though the looks are out for only a brief time, you scope them. While they don’t have a ton of stuff left, I just checked again online this morning and they have pieces from 17 different designers left, and a good run of sizes. Have fun ladies! My only question is, will they ever bring back those killer Cynthia Vincent for Target shoes from last spring?
Here is my delicious dress. Don’t be jealous, get your own!

Rainy Days and Mondays

The promise of Spring comes in and out, and each morning I eagerly watch the news (and  by the “news” I mean, The Today Show!) with the glimmering hope of sunshine and the 70’s on the horizon. No such luck. Today it was pissing with rain on my long and winding walk to work. I tried to remain cheerful despite the icy drops that fell on my ungloved fingers and the whipping winds that broke my umbrella in the space of two blocks. But even the blissful crooning and beats of Passion Pit that blared through my headphones was not enough. Tired of black, black, black I pulled together one of my go-to’s for this gross, in-between weather: floral, princess-like spring dress, black leggings, black double-breasted casual blazer worn open, and my green Hunter wellies. Florals and feminine details bring a smile on mornings like this and on those dreaded Mondays when all you want to do is roll over and go back to Dreamland. Here are some more ideas:
Photo borrowed from lookbook.nu
Rain Boots and Denim Shorts:
This is an easy look that works for shopping, a casual brunch, or an outdoor function with chance of rain (as seen here). I love her green Hunters (perhaps because I own the same ones!) paired with Levi denim cutoffs, a Topshop cardigan in a bold blue, and the little wreath of flowers to keep things feminine and fun. The outfit is easily achievable, for skinny mini’s and curvier girls too. Bonus: an ice cold beer helps any situation.

Party Dress with Girly Details:
This second look is a little tougher to pull off but I declare, it’s worth a shot! Why not channel your inner fabulousness by prancing around town in a white silk chiffon dress in the rain? Just make sure you pack an umbrella, or your pretty frock will be destroyed. The brown belt and black blazer say, “I accessorize, but I frankly don’t care much what you think about my accesorries.” The oversized shades and the pile of hair atop her head are uber-cool, with a nod to spring. And by the way, anyone confident enough to don rose-pink wellies damn well better go purchase herself a pair.

Black & White and Striped All Over:

She is cuter than cute. The Asos white silky dress with black and red stripe detail has a school-girl vibe without going overboard. A ton of chain necklaces, oversized gray bag, opaque tights, and black boots complete the look. Fun, funky, functional. She’s tiny, but you don’t have to be in order to get away with this look.

What You Need to Purchase:
Spring promises a ton more rain on the East Coast, and the best part about these cool basics is that they will work next year, and the year after that, and so on. Bonus: you can totally tell yourself that you “need” the following items. They might be cute, but they’re meant to protect you from the elements!

Hunter boots!
I’ve said it before and I will continue saying it forever. Hunter boots are the original and best wellies on the market. The women’s Original Tall seen at left retail for a mere $125. This style comes in eleven matte and thirteen glossy hues. I love my green matte original talls and pair them with everything whether green “matches” or not. The glossy black is another great choice for those who like to play it on the safe side. But if you have the gumption to go for red, violet, or beyond, why not do it? A pop of color on a rainy day cheers the soul. Pick your pair up at hunter-boot.com.

A Great Trench!
Whether you think you are a trench person or not, you can easily pull one off. The classic, of course, is the Burberry trench adored by celebrities, royals, and tastemakers since its popularity boom post-World War II. I adore this look with the leather straps from the 2011 collection. Utterly British, with clean lines and boasting the perfect shade of khaki, this trench is divine in every way and will pull together even your weariest rainy look. Sad part: this beautiful coat will set you back $1,495. Start squirelling those pennies away! Or, opt for one of these:
Ports 1961:
This Ports 1961 version is classic with a twist, featuring a modern, high-fashion silhouette and a buckle-less self-tie belt. Would be incredibly chic en route to work over a shift dress with black tights and your favorite pumps. Bonus: it’s currently on sale at zappos.com from $990 for only $665.
Forever 21:
This playful cherry-red trench is great for Spring. The important thing when shopping for a bright-hued coat is to keep it classic in shape and porportion. This version is girly and fun but has the structuring of a proper trench so it doesn’t take things too far. Bonus: it’s only $25.80 on forever21.com. Amaze!
*Cute anecdote: a couple years ago on Christmas, Josh gave me the most gorgeous purple trench from Marc by Marc Jacobs. Perfectly tailored, with cold double-breasted buttons, it makes me beam every time I wear it. You will certainly receive a ton of compliments in your new bold trench!
A Fun & Funky Dress!
The options are limitless, but if you have some cheerful sundresses in your wardrobe, you can always pair one with the above staples for rainy-day (or Monday!) chic. A quick internet browse yielded the following finds. Have fun!



Hype, $215 on revolveclothing.com



Pencey, on sale for $96 on revolveclothing.com



Jersey knit dress from American Apparel, $40




Lace and chiffon dress from American Apparel, $58





Erin Klein, $225 on revolveclothing.com



They Had Faces

A few weeks ago I decided I would start posting a photo a week on here for inspiration. Since that initial classic of Andy & Edie, I haven’t followed up. The reason is twofold. One, work has me so booked up that the time I have for blogging is brief and research takes up too much of it. Two, I’ve had other things to write about! Over the weekend I received the following photo (and its caption!) in my inbox from one of the most debonair, cultured, fashion-conscious people in my life. That’s right, once again my photo of the week has been inspired by none other than my little bro. Behold, the glorious Gloria Swanson.

America’s First Real Star

Nowadays, as Andy Warhol once predicted, everyone is famous for fifteen minutes. We are so inondated with reality television “stars,” people who’ve shot one episode of Law & Order and insist on walking red carpets, in-your-face “experts,” cut-throat models, athletes, fallen starlets, and those who are simply “Winning.” It’s a lot to take. And it makes this star-gazer tres sad, to tell you the truth.

In a foregone era, the term celebrity was reserved for those who deserved it. They were bona fide stars, talented actors who lit up the screen and brought magic to the people. Grace, Audrey, Marilyn… but reaching even farther back, there was a period in film history that started it all. The stars of silent films, like the inimitible Gloria Swanson.

Born in 1899, “Miss Swanson,” as she preferred to be called throughout her life despite many marriages, had a face so divine, so full of expression, that she was one of the first and most respected top picks during the silent film era. She swiftly transitioned to talking pictures with 1929’s “The Trespasser,” starring in over fifty films over the course of the 21st century. One of her most notables is the classic Sunset Boulevard, in which Miss Swanson played a character not unlike herself–an aging starlet living on former glory and taken with a young, dashing visitor portrayed by William Holden.

The film is filled with fabulous quotables but my favorite is so indicative of Swanson’s own grace, talent, and beauty. At one point her character Norma Desmond gets into a row with Holden about Hollywood in days gone by, declaring, “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces!” And that she did.

She’s Such a Themester

I’ve always loved a theme party. One in particular that Pookie and I got a kick out of was the “Roman Invasion of the VIP Room” (translation: Upscale Toga Party) in college. But grownups can theme it up just as well, and have a damn good time of it too. This past Saturday, jetlagged and a few pounds up from two weeks of room service and cheap wine in LA, I ventured with the crew to Jersey for my first ever experience at the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day parade. We had an amazing time sipping green mimosas at our friends’ neighbor’s apartment, decked out in every green article of clothing in our wardrobes as well as a few freebies from glasses to Mardi Gras-style beads. What a way to kick off Spring in the city, and to finally land back where I belong… with true friends–at home. Below are some of our party shots, and a few more theme ideas for the future.
The beautiful blond is our friend Nell.
We were seeing double at this point for sure…
Our dear friend Marcus. I have no words for this look…

In the future, I’d love to try some of these…

How about a BALLET PARTY featuring fabulous tutus and Old World ballet-style frocks?


Nerdy-chic with a twist when paired with:
 geek glasses, a patterned tee, and ankle boots



Nothing like taking ballet to grayscale and adding shades. This is a winner!



Over-the-top sexy corset meets baby pink. Amazing.



(The only problem with the Sexy Ballet Party… what would all the uber-masculine boys wear?)

ROOFTOP SUMMER SOIREE IN BLACK AND WHITE ONLY:


Crazy, contrasting patterns work fabulously in this color(less) scheme





Lord knows I’m a Dress Girl, but love this “casual” approach.

I could go on and on like this for days. And perhaps will post more inspirational little theme segments like this in the future. Up next: digging through the archives for shots of theme parties from days gone by… Stay tuned!

**All non-St Patrick’s Day images on this post are credited to lookbok.nu

The Last Word from LA

Mo and I leave LA tomorrow morning and I have to say, I’m relieved. Though we did miss out on below-freezing temps in New York the last couple of weeks, the weather hasn’t exactly been balmy and fabulous here. And I really miss my home, family, boyfriend, and kittle. On the lifestyle front, though, we did a lot of fun things. The next time you head to LA, you must do the following:

1. Get a spray tan at Portofino.
Yes, stripping down to nothing in front of a complete stranger and being sprayed with a cold layer of chemicals is an odd experience. But the result is a chic, deep tan without the bulbs–and a good week of looking tan without having damaged your skin. (Check them out here)
Recommended service: Custom airbrush spray tan
Wallet damage: About $100 with tax, tip, and a bronzer

2. Take a drive in the Hollywood Hills.
The roads are long and winding, the view is spectacular and the houses are glorious little secrets tucked into the lush landscape. We had such a great time racing around in our rented little red Mini Cooper, top down, Diet Cokes in hand, sun streaming over one of the most famous neighborhoods in the country. If you go slowly enough, you might even spot some celebs in the hills!
Recommended vehicle: Zippy little red car
Wallet damage: Zilch, sans gas.

3. Hit up Wasteland high-end consignment shop.
New York has its fair share of great thrift and consignment, but nothing like what I saw at Wasteland. There are a few locations, but the best one is in Studio City. I won’t regale you with all the gory details, because my mom and boyfriend would likely kill me if they knew, but let’s use this shining example: Helmut Lang skirt, tags still on from Bergdorf’s, original price $220, Wasteland price $40.
Recommended time: After work, early Sunday morning, and everytime you go there will be more new stuff!
Wallet damage: Astronomical. But worth every single penny.

4. Indulge in steak at Boa.
After reading about the meat-lovers hot spot in the weeklies so much in recent months, Monique and I had to head to Boa. The ambiance is so LA–from a clean, lush interior with high ceilings, dim lighting and large leather booth seating, to a sprawling outdoor dining section complete with upscale wicker furniture, C-list celebs shmoozing, and great music blasting. Bonus: the food is great. Caesar salad is prepared tableside to your specifications (heavy or light on the garlic? extra croutons? no problem!). Steak comes with a selection of several sauces and rubs, and the sides are to die for.
Recommended dishes: Wedge salad, Petit filet blackened with Boa’s signature sauce, truffle cheese fries.
Wallet damage: What you would expect for a steak hot spot in Hollywood. A lot.

5. Ask the paparrazzi who they’re waiting for.
In this business we deal with celebrities on a daily basis, but when the really good ones come out, it’s still exciting. In New York you rarely find the paparazzi hanging out around the front door restaurants. If you were to, it would be over someone huge. I think the funniest thing about LA is the way celebrity is approached. Sure, the paps might be waiting for Brad and Angie, but most likely, it’s the Donna D’Erricos of the world. And it’s always worth a laugh!
Recommended spots: Anything on Hollywood Blvd, anything Asian fusion–Katsuya, Koi, etc.
Wallet damage: Gratis.

Showing off those spray tans at our QVC Red Carpet Event: Friday 2.25.

Couture Hangover

I am exhausted from last night–and it’s not a result of the cheap champagne so much as the tough scrutinizing that went on. Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we?

I LOVE YOU:

The twenty-something was stunning in this fairy-princess-grows-up silk chiffon number with lace detailing on the bodice and shirring down the skirt. The perfect marriage of romantic ease and sexy glam, Mila’s lavendar statement was age-appropriate, beautiful, and effortlessly chic.
Mila Kunis in Elie Saab houte couture

 

Melissa is lovely strong, and–dare we say–a tad rough around the edges. I thought this lace-overlay gown with gold sequins peeking through was a fun, inventive way to make a statement on the carpet without trything too hard. The easy-does-it approach to hair and makeup was refreshing too.
Melissa Leo in a custom Marc Bouwer and Forevermark diamond drop earrings
Still a princess in my eyes, Miss Hathaway charmed in this elegantly detailed, beaded, perfectly-shaped gown that only she could have pulled off. I adore the deep red, thought brown California waves were a great touch, and could not get over that demure, perfect cleavage. Va-va voom!
Anne Hathaway in Atelier Versace
This Old Hollywood look was perfect for last night. Fresh and fun without being too young for her 36 years, the gown hugged her great curves and didn’t reveal too much. The deep blue hue, fun-loving sequins and cap sleeves were swoon-worthy, while side-parted loose waves made for a vintage beauty from head to toe.
Amy Adams in L’Wren Scott

 

 

I DON’T LOVE YOU:
Anne Hathaway is a classic beauty with a funky twist, but this was just all wrong. From the crazed, ringleted updo to the awkward feather-print detail and layers of Victorian-era funeral ruffles below, it was hate-hate-hate for me through and through. The only saving grace of this monstrosity was the lovely shape of the bodice. I adore you, Vivienne Westwood, but really–what the BLEEP happened here?
Anne Hathaway in Vivienne Westwood custom gown
Maybe this would work on the runway–or even in a different color–but this origami-inspired bridal gown-gone-wrong just did not work for me. Lovely beadwork on the bodice; absolutely insane silhouette from the waist down. Nicole made me sad last night, when usually she stuns.
Nicole Kidman in Dior

How is it possible to make such a thin gal look tummy-ish? All around, this was just bad. Bad color, bad tulle, bad hair. Marisa, I expected more from you.

Melissa Tomei in Lily et Cie

I get that being preggers is tough, but Natalie is young and porcelain and chic. She could have done much better than this! At this stage in the pregnancy, why not throw on something form fitting so the bump can shine? Trying to mask it beneath layers of flowing fuscia chiffon was just an odd choice. I’m kind of over her. Sorry to rag on the pregnant girl…but let’s face it, she had a great night nonetheless.

Natalie Portman in Rodarte

**Images courtesy of style.com, people.com, and celebuzz.com