Black and white and red all over!

How to summer-up your nighttime outfit without the need of florals, beige stilettos, or a white leather bag? Why, with a punch of red, of course. Scope out these super-cool black and white dress-up ideas, and picture them paired with a cherry gloss when needed. Time for your close-up, yes?

Punk Princess:

She works in the red with her HAIR. Love it!

Preppy Diva:

Orangey-red on the hem and in the heels makes a bold statement, but her outfit remains Pure Class.

Vampy Seductress:

Red lips and red tights? She’s got it down.

Girly Country:

Laid back and subtly feminine with open back, A-line skirt and sleek red belt. The cowgirl boots are a nice touch, too.

 

A Very sad thing: Betsey Johnson files for bankruptcy

The designer in happier times. I hope she finds that smile again soon.

I am not going to get into the business details of this issue for two reasons. The first is, I haven’t done enough reading on the topic to declare myself an expert in any way. The second is, my personal reaction is an emotional one, and I always find it better to write from an honest and personal place.

Classic Betsey. Now only $321

I have loved Betsey Johnson since I first discovered her designs at age 12. I was in that awkward body moment of middle school that we all remember too well, stuck between a girl’s body and a woman’s, refusing to wear a bra and yet desperate for the highest heels I could get my hands on. My mom and I had a few important things to shop for that year–friends’ bar and bat mitzvahs, our annual spring outing to the ballet, etc. We found compromise, adventure, and solace in Betsey Johnson.

This cute tee is on sale now for $51

Ruffles and bows offset sleek lines, thick and flattering materials complimented womanly shapes. From A-line mini’s to a sheer red wrap sweater, we found everything I needed from the ages of 12 to 17 at Betsey Johnson. My prom dress, a black chiffon number with spaghetti straps and a shredded high-low hemline was by the designer. I’ve never received so many compliments as I did on that night; ten years later, I still wear the dress for formal occasions. Such is the timelessness and whimsical elegance of a Betsey Johnson design. I continued shopping from the designer into my college years, and whenever I can afford it, on into my twenties.

My beautiful new dress, on sale now for $96

This weekend I found out about the bankruptcy while “window” shopping at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania. The location at the mall had closeout signs in its windows and I was instantly crushed. I did pick up three gorgeous pieces–a black and pink floral slip dress, a pair of white elastic shorts with high-low skirt over them, and a black lace stretchy dress with ruffles on the toosh–all for scary low prices.

The most fun and fabulous fashion show I ever attended was one of Betsey’s. I will miss these fashion-meets-lifestyle extravaganzas very much.

At this very sad time, I felt guilty buying these gorgeous pieces by the designer at such a steal, but pleased to know that I was able to have one more Betsey shopping experience. I encourage you to check out betseyjohnson.com for some great sale goods, and one more shot at finding some of the coolest, most unique and flattering garments out there. I also encourage you NOT to purchase the Betsey branded goods at Steve Madden and department stores. These are not actually Betsey’s designs; they are conceptualized by a team of designers under her name and she makes nothing off of these sales.

Comfy Cuties

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about how to be comfy and cute at the same time, but I wanted to throw out a little refresher course for those of you with no weekend plans and a a stirring desire not to lounge on the couch in sweats for 48 hours straight. It used to be so simple, right? That moment between 2002 and 2007 when tossing on SoLow pants and a t-shirt or a full-on Juicy jumpsuit made you comfortable and glam at the exact same time? Those days are over, but there is a new comfy cute that really works. How to do it without trying too hard (or not enough)? Read on.

Preppy Comfy Cute:

If you used to rock ripped jeans and your boyfriend’s old Oxford, try this instead.

Do not be intimidated by her platforms. You can achieve the same look with loafers. All she’s done is thrown an old sweater and a necklace over a loose-fitting blouse and put on trousers. This outfit takes two minutes to put together, and she can race around town in it easily.

Girly Comfy Cute:

If you’re obsessed with anything floral, lacy, or generally pretty, try this.

Nothing is more effortless or more instantly pretty than a floaty, floral sundress. You can also eat whatever you want it this without popping a button. Hers is from Free People; stock up on a few now and wear them all summer long thrown over a bathing suit with some flip flops and a pair of pink shades. Done!

Glammy Comfy Cute:

If you used to wear platforms or tons of jewelry with your Juicy jumpsuits, try this. 

Glam girls, stay true to your roots with sequined leggings. They feel just like other leggings, but they look more like you. Spray painted oversized tank tops, bright baseball caps and chunky jewelry are easy add-ons that you’ll feel comfy in, but will speak to your inner goddess of glamour.

Brunettes have fun, too!

America’s favorite dark-haired beauty definitely knows how to have fun!

Here are some things that are good about having brown hair:

1. However baseless this rule is, people tend to categorize you as “smart” right off the bat.

2. It is easier to blend in with the crowd when you don’t feel like standing out.

3. You can go longer between washes because blond hair tends to look greasier faster (contrary to popular belief).

Now, go back and scratch out the first thing I’ve listed above because it’s absolutely stupid in itself, and I was just as smart when I was blonde as I am now. And I know plenty of idiotic brunettes. And then again, these stereotypes exist. So, I guess we can leave it, even if we don’t agree with it.

If you saw this walking down the street, you would stop and stare. Long, thick blonde locks like this are drop dead sexy. I’ll admit it!

As for Rule #2, blonde girls do tend to turn more heads. It often matters little what her face or outfit look like, but if the blonde hair is flowing, men are looking. And women are looking. And babies and busdrivers and puppies are looking. Because blonde hair is rarer, it is more exceptional, and more noteworthy, and more stare-worthy. So, if you’re a brunette having a bad day you can pull it up into a bun and throw some shades on and guarantee that you’ll get less stares than a blonde who is feeling the same way and did the same thing.

Dirty or clean? You’ll never know…

And then there’s that final thing, about having to wash less frequently. I recently read on a blog that shall remain nameless that only blondes can use baby powder instead of dry shampoo on dirty hair. This is simply not the case. There are a few things to keep in mind, but even black-haired beauties can utilize this cheap and easy beauty tip. First, create a part and commit to it. Then, pull up and hold away (temporarily, with your non-dominant hand) a narrow section of hair on either side of the part, from front to crown. Sprinkle baby powder here at the roots, and brush through. Then, let the top layer fall back into place. The oil will be absorbed by the baby powder and any chance of white showing is eliminated by hiding it with the top layer. The underside of this layer will also absorb the powder, but it won’t show. Genius!

Tackle day-old brown hair trouble with an elastic and a spritz of long hold hairspray.

And, unlike blonde hair that might appear brassy when dirty, brown hair is more likely to retain its color. Just make sure to brush it several times a day when dirty, or to slick it back into a high, tight pony or bun with a boar bristle brush, and you’re in business. Now, as much as this post has been very pro-brunette, I will admit that there is a bit of a Cinderella inside of me that still wishes she were blonde. So, blondies, don’t be offended. We all have to cover up our little jealousies with triumph. These days, brunette-ness becomes me, but one never knows when she might venture back… to the light side.

Accessorizing Made Accessible

Living and working in New York can prove a very interesting study in human behavior, human intelligence (or, sometimes, lack thereof), and most importantly, human accessorizing. Now, everyone has their own style. My snide remark above is not to be taken in any hurtful way. But walking around city streets means taking in a lot of data on fellow humans. Some are brilliant! Charismatic! Charming! Some are, well, duds. Same to be said of their accessorizing, and here’s more on that.

I know a girl who works at a high end jewelry store and has amassed, over her several years there, several pieces of diamond jewelry. In addition to a whopping diamond engagement ring, a stunning diamond wedding band, and several anniversary or otherwise celebratory bands worn on her left ring finger, she always dons chunky gold signet rings, several diamond bracelets, whopping diamond crosses, anchors, and other symbols around her neck. Once I saw her in a long gold chain with several gold charms, worn AT THE SAME TIME as three different platinum and diamond necklaces. Too much, or just enough? On her, it works. And then there are the girls who wear one little necklace every day, and carry one little black cross-body pocketbook every day, and look lovely. So, this is all to say that there are many acceptable rules when it comes to accessorizing, and it’s up to you to decide what works for you.

While it might not be my personal style, I adore how she stacks on tons of gladiator-like sterling silver bangles and rings, does the headband, and the fringed boots. This girl is totally in character, and it totally works on her. Well done!

Forget the snow in the background and focus on the elegant simplicity of this look. Her entire outfit is neutral and sleek in all black. Her hair is pulled back into a bun. She has ONE and only one accessory speaking, and its message is brilliance. This is divine.

She is prim and proper and her accessories let you know it. A ladylike heel, classic Chanel bag and gold cuff and belt exude womanly confidence and New York grace. I love this look.

Bows remain major, and there are a million ways to get it right. I like her pink-on-pink, nearly over-the-top frilliness here, but less girly-girls can pull off a bow by sticking to more neutral colors, or wearing one with jeans and a tee. What matters is how YOU want to wear the bow.

Summer (skin) Lovin’

It’s almost that time of year, and this Lawn Gisland girl has to admit to being VERY torn on the sunscreen front. Now, if we’re being honest, it’s been drilled into our heads for years that tanning is unsafe. More and more articles and TV news pieces are surfacing constantly to caution us about safe skin practices. (This morning, on the Today show, I learned that we should be using a SHOTGLASSFULL of sunscreen on our bodies every two hours every day?? Wild. And expensive, no?) But, the reality is, it’s time to smarten up about our skin. That said, as much as I don’t want to wind up leathery one day, and I certainly don’t want skin cancer, I am obsessed with looking tan. It’s in my DNA. Just part of Long Island’s regional charm, I guess. What’s a tanorexic to do?

SPRAY TAN! Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Smelly, messy, and yellow (orange?) in the wrong places. But, no, the new spray tans, while pricey, can actually be JUST what the doctor, and the tanorexic, ordered. I was lucky enough to receive my first local spray tan (I had one in LA last year that didn’t go so great) at one of Manhattan’s finest spots–the Spa at Trump SoHo. Danielle, one of their aestheticians, delivered a customized spray tan in a comfortable, beautiful environment. Now, I might have been a little cold at times, but there was practically no dry time, and absolutely no smudging. I have never had a prettier tan in all my life, and my skin was glad to know that it wasn’t being affected in the slightest (except, maybe with some moisturizers!).

Do I, or do I not, look like I just spent a few days in Cabo (as opposed to where I really have been spending my time–which is in a dark room, in Brooklyn, writing)?

The spray tan will only last you about a week, but I drew mine out a little longer by using Clarins and Mystic home products on my face, arms, and legs afterward. My natural-looking glow was complimented by friends, coworkers, and (duh) my boyfriend. Look, I understand the desire to be tan, but this is one of those public service warnings we should really heed. Within my immediate family alone, there are two people who survived melanoma. They were lucky, but not everyone is. With one in five American adults contracting skin cancer these days, wouldn’t you rather pay a little more to look tan the safe way?

PS. If you go to the Spa at Trump SoHo during the week, spray tans are only $95!